Predictors of mortality and management of patients with traumatic inferior vena cava injuries

Am Surg. 2006 Apr;72(4):290-6.


The aim of this study was to determine factors that predict mortality in patients with traumatic inferior vena cava (IVC) injuries and to review the current management of this lethal injury. A 7-year retrospective review of all trauma patients with IVC injuries was performed. Factors associated with mortality were assessed by univariate analysis. Significant variables were included in a multivariate regression analysis model to determine independent predictors of mortality. Statistical significance was determined at P < or = 0.05. A literature review of traumatic IVC injuries was performed and compared with our institutional experience. Thirty-six IVC injuries were identified (mortality, 56%; mechanisms of injury, 28% blunt and 72% penetrating). There was no difference in mortality based on mechanism of injury. Injuries with closer proximity to the heart were associated with increased mortality (P < 0.001). Univariate analysis demonstrated that nonsurvivors had a higher injury severity scale, a lower systolic blood pressure in the emergency department, a lower Glasgow coma score (GCS), and were more likely to have thoracotomies performed in the emergency department or operating room. Multivariate analysis revealed that only GCS (P = 0.03) was an independent predictor of mortality. Typical factors predicting mortality were identified in our cohort of patients, including GCS. The mechanism of injury is not associated with survival outcome, although mortality is higher with injuries more proximal to the heart. The form of management by IVC level is reviewed in our patient population and compared with the literature.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Thoracotomy
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / injuries*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality*
  • Wounds, Gunshot / surgery
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / mortality*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery
  • Wounds, Stab / mortality*
  • Wounds, Stab / surgery