Introduction: Injury to the subclavian and axillary arteries is uncommon. Exposure of these vessels is associated with significant morbidity, and mortality ranges from 5% to 30%. Endovascular methods may offer an alternative approach to these technically challenging injuries.
Methods: We retrospectively studied patients with blunt or penetrating (including iatrogenic) injuries to the subclavian or axillary artery between January 1, 1996 and July 30, 2002. Demographic data, mechanism of injury, concomitant injuries, angiographic findings, and treatment method and outcome were recorded.
Results: Twenty-seven patients with injury to the subclavian or axillary artery were seen at our institution during the study. Twenty-three patients underwent interventions. Eleven patients required open repair; 12 patients had lesions amenable to endovascular repair. Depending on the preference of the surgeon, 5 patients with injuries amenable to endovascular repair underwent open repair, and 7 underwent endovascular repair. A Wallgraft endoprosthesis was used in all patients; two grafts were required in 1 patient. Endovascular repair was associated with shorter operative time (P =.04) and less blood loss (P =.01). One-year patency was similar between the two groups.
Conclusion: Covered stents are a feasible alternative to open repair in properly selected patients with subclavian or axillary artery injury, resulting in shorter procedure time and less blood loss.