Axillary artery transection after recurrent anterior shoulder dislocation

Am J Emerg Med. 2010 Jan;28(1):119.e5-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2009.04.033.


Axillary artery transection after recurrent anterior shoulder dislocation is extremely rare. We present 2 such patients. The first, a 62-year-old man, presented with acute ischemia and a large hematoma in the axilla and chest wall. The second, a 63-year-old man, had a pseudoaneurysm and palpable peripheral pulses. Both underwent urgent computed tomography, which confirmed the clinical diagnosis, and the patients were taken to the operating room. In the first patient, intraoperative angiogram through both the brachial and the femoral route showed complete disruption of the axillary artery rendering an endovascular approach not possible. Proximal balloon occlusion was then undertaken through the femoral artery, controlling the bleeding and allowing easier dissection of the ruptured segment. Revascularization was performed with an interposition polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) bypass restoring normal blood supply to the upper extremity. The second patient had a Viabhan (W.L. Gore, Flagstaff, Ariz) stent-graft implanted through the brachial artery with an excellent clinical and angiographic result. As expected, both patients had significant neurologic morbidity due to associated brachial plexus palsy. Ruptured axillary artery after shoulder dislocation is very uncommon. Endovascular repair and hybrid procedures combining open and endovascular techniques can offer reliable solutions to these challenging problems.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Axillary Artery / injuries*
  • Axillary Artery / surgery*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Shoulder Dislocation / complications*