Optimal limb salvage in penetrating civilian vascular trauma

J Vasc Surg. 1986 Feb;3(2):189-95.


To evaluate current treatment of peripheral vascular trauma, we reviewed our recent experience with noniatrogenic penetrating vascular injuries of the extremities. Between 1979 and 1984, 139 patients sustained 204 vascular injuries inflicted by single gunshots (64%), stabbings (24%), and shotguns (12%). Eighty-four percent of patients underwent preoperative arteriography, which revealed occult arterial injury in 13 patients (9%). Compartmental hypertension necessitated fasciotomy in 19% of patients and was required more often after combined arterial and venous injuries (29%) than after isolated arterial injury (14%). Arterial continuity was restored by interposition grafting with reversed saphenous vein (62%), end-to-end anastomosis (19%), vein patch angioplasty (8%), or primary repair (4%). After arterial repair, completion angiography detected the need for revision in 8% of patients. Arterial ligation was performed in 7% of injuries and was only used in the treatment of tibial and distal profunda femoris injuries. Forty-five percent of patients sustained concomitant venous injury; 64% of all venous injuries and 90% of femoropopliteal venous injuries were repaired. No deaths occurred, and a single patient required amputation. We conclude that a protocol of preoperative arteriography, liberal. use of fasciotomy, frequent use of autologous interposition grafts, repair of major venous injuries, and routine use of completion arteriography can result in limb salvage rates that approach 100% after penetrating vascular trauma to the extremities.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Angiography
  • Arm / blood supply*
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis
  • Blood Vessels / injuries*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Wounds, Gunshot / surgery
  • Wounds, Penetrating / surgery*
  • Wounds, Stab / surgery