Introduction: Injury to the subclavian and axillary arteries is uncommon. Standard surgical techniques require wide exposure and dissection in traumatised areas which is often challenging and associated with significant morbidity, and mortality ranges from 5 to 30%. We report our experience with the endovascular treatment of these injuries.
Methods: We retrospectively studied patients with blunt or penetrating (including iatrogenic) injuries to the subclavian or axillary artery between January 2000 and September 2004. Demographic data, mechanism of injury, concomitant injuries, angiographic findings, and treatment method and outcome were recorded. Nine patients with injury to the subclavian or axillary artery were seen at our institution during the study. Two patients underwent interventions, seven patients had lesions amenable to endovascular repair.
Results: Immediate success was obtained in all procedures (100%). All patients continue to have patent grafts with a follow-up ranging from 3 to 48 months (mean 22.6 months). The procedure-related complication was the need for a brachial artery pseudoaneurismectomy at the site of device insertion in one patient (14.7%). None of the patient developed a device fracture.
Conclusion: Endovascular stent-grafts offer an effective, less invasive alternative to standard techniques in treating traumatic arterial lesions, resulting in shorter procedure time and less blood loss than previously reported.