Background: Popliteal artery injuries continue to result in limb loss. This study identifies risk factors that predict amputation.
Methods: Over a 5-year period, a retrospective chart review was conducted of 80 consecutive patients with 81 popliteal artery injuries.
Results: The overall amputation rate was 16.5%. Blunt trauma carried a higher rate of amputation (47%) than penetrating injuries (6.2%); P < 0.0001). Associated fractures had a higher amputation rate, regardless of mechanism (odds ratio +2.7, 95% confidence limits 1.2 to 6.2). Fasciotomy at the time of operation was associated with reduced amputation rate.
Conclusions: Blunt injuries and associated fractures carry an increased risk for amputation. Compartmental pressures should be appropriately monitored postoperatively. Fasciotomy at the time of vascular repair may be considered even without evidence of compartment syndrome.