Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta for non-traumatic intra-abdominal hemorrhage

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2019 Aug;45(4):713-718. doi: 10.1007/s00068-018-0973-0. Epub 2018 Jun 19.


Background: Hemorrhagic shock is the second leading cause of death in blunt trauma and a significant cause of mortality in non-trauma patients. The increased use of resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) as a bridge to definitive control for massive hemorrhage has provided promising results in the trauma population. We describe an extension of this procedure to our hemodynamically unstable non-trauma patients.

Methods: This is a retrospective review of patients requiring REBOA for end stage non-traumatic abdominal hemorrhage from our tertiary care facility. After excluding patients with trauma, supradiaphragmatic bleed and thoracic/abdominal aortic aneurysms, demographics, etiology of bleed, REBOA placement specifics, complications and outcomes were reviewed.

Results: From August 2013 to August 2016, 11 patients were identified requiring REBOA placement for hemodynamic instability from non-traumatic abdominal hemorrhage. Average patient age was 54.9 (SD 15.2). Sixty-four percent suffered cardiac arrest prior to REBOA, with mean shock index of 1.29. Average time from diagnosis of shock (MAP ≤ 65) or signs of bleeding to placement of REBOA was 177 min. The leading etiologies of hemorrhage were ruptured visceral aneurysm and massive upper gastrointestinal bleed. REBOA was placed by both acute care and vascular surgeons. The procedure was mainly completed in the operating room in 82% of the patients and at the bedside in 18%. One patient expired before operative repair. Definitive surgical control of the source of bleeding was obtained by open surgical approach (n = 6) and combined surgical and endovascular approach (n = 4). In-hospital survival was 64%. There were no local complications related to REBOA placement.

Conclusion: Similar to the trauma population, REBOA is an adjunctive technique for proximal control of bleeding as well as resuscitation in end stage non-traumatic intra-abdominal hemorrhage. We propose an algorithmic approach to REBOA use in this population and a larger prospective review is necessary to determine both the timing of REBOA placement and which non-traumatic patients may benefit from this technique.

Level of evidence: V.

Study type: Brief report.

Keywords: Hemorrhagic shock; Non-compressible abdominal hemorrhage; REBOA; Shock.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aorta, Thoracic
  • Balloon Occlusion / methods*
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / therapy
  • Therapeutics