Background: Traumatic hemorrhage remains a major cause of death in rural civilian and combat environments. Potential interventions to control hemorrhage from the pelvis and lower junctional regions include the abdominal aortic and junctional tourniquet (AAJT) and resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA). The AAJT requires low technical skills and may thus be used by nonmedical professionals, but is associated with time-dependent ischemic complications. In combination with delayed patient evacuation, it may therefore be deleterious. Transition to zone 3 REBOA in higher levels of care may be a possibility to maintain hemostasis, mitigate adverse effects and enable surgery in patients resuscitated with the AAJT. It is possible that a transition between the interventions could lead to hemodynamic penalties. Therefore, we investigated the feasibility of replacing the AAJT with zone 3 REBOA in a porcine model of uncontrolled femoral hemorrhage.
Methods: Domestic pigs (n = 12) averaging 57 kg were exposed to a class IV uncontrolled hemorrhage from the common femoral artery. The animals were randomized to 60-minute AAJT (n = 6) or 30-minute AAJT with transition to 30-minute zone 3 REBOA. Hemodynamic and metabolic parameters and ultrasonographic measurements of the common femoral artery were collected.
Results: Transition from AAJT to zone 3 REBOA caused a significant decrease in mean arterial pressure (25 mm Hg). Hemostasis was maintained. The common femoral artery diameter decreased by 1.8 mm (38%) after hemorrhage and further 0.7 mm (23%) after aortic occlusion.
Conclusion: Transition from AAJT to zone 3 REBOA after a class IV bleeding is feasible with hemodynamic support. Vascular access to the femoral artery for REBOA insertion poses a technical challenge after hemorrhage and AAJT application.
Level of evidence: Laboratory animal study, level IV.