Background and objective: The brachial artery is the most frequently injured artery in the upper extremity due to its vulnerability. The purpose of our study was to review our experience with brachial artery injuries over a 9-year period, describing the type of injury, surgical procedures, complications, and associated injuries.
Patients and methods: Forty-nine patients with brachial artery injury underwent surgical repair procedures at our hospital, from the beginning of May 1999 to the end of June 2008. The brachial artery injuries were diagnosed by physical examination and Doppler ultrasonography. Depending on the mode of presentation, patients were either taken immediately to the operating room for bleeding control and vascular repair or were assessed by preoperative duplex ultrasonography.
Results: This study group consisted of 43 males and 6 females, ranging in age from 6 to 65 years with a mean (SD) age of 27.9 (6.7) years. The mechanism of trauma was penetrating in 45 patients and blunt in the remaining 4 patients. Stab injury was the most frequent form of penetrating trauma (24 of 45). Treatment included primary arterial repair in 5 cases, end-to-end anastomosis in 28 cases, interposition vein graft in 15 cases, and interposition-ringed polytetrafluoroethylene graft in 1 case. Associated injuries were common and included venous injury (14), bone fracture (5), and peripheral nerve injury (11). Fifteen patients developed postoperative complications. One patient underwent an above-elbow amputation.
Conclusions: Prompt and appropriate management of the brachial artery injuries, attention to associated injuries, and a readiness to revise the vascular repair early in the event of failure will maximize patient survival and upper extremity salvage.