Background: Injury to the celiac artery secondary to a blunt mechanism of trauma is an extremely rare injury that accounts for only 1%-2% of all visceral vascular lesions. Although rare, this injury is associated with significant mortality. Despite this high mortality, there are currently only a few published case series of blunt celiac artery injuries in the literature. This study sought to review all cases of blunt celiac artery injuries that presented to our Level I trauma center over a 5-year period.
Methods: This was a retrospective chart review of all patients who presented with a traumatic blunt celiac artery injury between January 2012 and March 2017.
Results: A total of 10 patients met the inclusion criteria for this study. The majority of patients were male (7/10, 70%), the average age was 38.3 ± 16.1 years, and overall mortality was 20% (2/10). On average, patients spent 10.2 ± 6.5 days in the hospital, 4.4 ± 4.5 days in the ICU, and 1.6 ± 2.0 days on the ventilator. The majority of patients presented with either an intimal dissection (3/10, 30%) or an intraluminal thrombus (3/10, 30%). Other injuries included pseudoaneurysms (2/10, 20%), complete avulsion (1/10, 10%), and an intimal dissection with thrombus (1/10, 10%). Of these injuries, 2 (20%) were noted to have retrograde flow on imaging studies including computed tomography angiography and a visceral angiogram. The majority of patients (8/10, 80%) were managed nonoperatively, and 5 (50%) patients were discharged home on aspirin. One patient who was initially managed nonoperatively required an unplanned return to the operating room for ischemic bowel, liver, and stomach. There were no other complications noted.
Discussion: Traumatic blunt injury to the celiac artery is rare. Although there are multiple treatment options, there is currently no consensus in regard to management guidelines. In this case series, the majority of patients were successfully managed nonoperatively suggesting that a selective approach for intervention on patients with a blunt celiac artery injury should be considered.