Penetrating injuries of the neck and the increasing role of CTA

Emerg Radiol. 2004 Jul;10(6):303-9. doi: 10.1007/s10140-004-0352-5. Epub 2004 May 27.


Vascular injuries of the neck are most frequently the result of penetrating trauma. Diagnostic evaluation of hemodynamically stable patients who have suffered penetrating neck wounds is challenging and remains controversial. In order to reduce morbidity and mortality, prompt diagnosis and subsequent treatment of these injuries is critical. Traditionally, these patients undergo direct contrast angiography. However, this technique has limitations including its invasive nature and potential complications. The use of routine screening angiography has also been questioned because of the low rate of positive examinations. More recently, helical and multislice CT angiography (CTA) has emerged as a fast, minimally invasive accurate study to evaluate penetrating neck injuries. CTA is not operator-dependent and the results can be reproduced easily by using established technical parameters. It is readily available in most centers and allows the simultaneous evaluation of the extravascular soft tissues and bones.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiography / methods
  • Blood Vessels / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Neck Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, Spiral Computed*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / methods
  • Wounds, Penetrating / diagnostic imaging*