Ultrasound-Guided Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta in the Resuscitation Area

J Emerg Med. 2017 May;52(5):715-722. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2017.01.014. Epub 2017 Feb 17.


Background: In trauma resuscitation with resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA), urgent and accurate placement of the catheter in the resuscitation area without fluoroscopy can shorten the time from admission to REBOA, allowing rapid, temporary control of bleeding.

Discussion: The experience-based protocol in our center for ultrasound-guided REBOA in the resuscitation area without fluoroscopy is as follows: the femoral artery is punctured and a guidewire inserted; sonography is used to verify that the guidewire is in the abdominal aorta; the position of the balloon is confirmed with ultrasound after estimating the distance to the clavicle, and the pressure in the radial artery and sheath is used to monitor correct positioning; connect the pressure transducer to the catheter sheath for continuous monitoring of the blood pressure in the sheath, and inflate the balloon until the blood pressure tracing at the sheath has disappeared; check the pulse in the left radial artery, and withdraw the catheter slightly if the pulse in the radial artery is not palpable or is decreased (if this pulse is not palpable or decreased, the balloon is in the aortic arch). In this retrospective review of our REBOA protocol, between April 2012 and March 2016, 34 patients were enrolled. Two patients had complications, including dissection of the femoral artery in one and difficult percutaneous vascular access in another. Median time needed to complete the procedure was 8 min. Overall, 24 of 34 patients survived more than 24 h (72%), and overall mortality was 47%. Patients who lived more than 24 h, and then died had severe traumatic brain injury or septic shock.

Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided REBOA is presented. Monitoring the blood pressure in the left radial artery allows us to determine adequate positioning of the balloon, and the blood pressure in the catheter sheath located in the femoral artery should also be monitored to prevent aortic injuries caused by the overinflation of the balloon.

Keywords: hemorrhage; resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta; trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aorta / diagnostic imaging
  • Aorta / physiopathology
  • Aortic Diseases / therapy
  • Balloon Occlusion / methods*
  • Balloon Occlusion / standards
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Endovascular Procedures / standards
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy / adverse effects
  • Hemorrhage / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Resuscitation / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography / methods*