Purpose: Intravascular stents have become important tools for the management of vascular lesions; however, stents in combination with vascular grafts have only recently reached clinical application. This report describes an experience with stented grafts for the treatment of penetrating arterial trauma.
Methods: Seven transluminally placed stented grafts were used to treat one arteriovenous fistula and six pseudoaneurysms. These grafts were successfully inserted percutaneously or through open arteriotomies that were remote from the site of vascular trauma. The devices were composed of balloon-expandable stainless steel stents covered with polytetrafluoroethylene grafts.
Results: Patency up to 14 months was achieved (mean follow-up 6.5 months) with these stented grafts. The use of stented grafts appears to be associated with decreased blood loss, a less invasive insertion procedure, reduced requirements for anesthesia, and a limited need for an extensive dissection in the traumatized field. These advantages are particularly important in patients with central arteriovenous fistulas or false aneurysms who are critically ill from other coexisting injuries or medical comorbidities.
Conclusions: The use of stented grafts already appears justified to treat traumatic arterial lesions in critically ill patients. Although the early results with the seven cases in this report are encouraging, documentation of long-term effectiveness must be obtained before these devices can be recommended for widespread or generalized use in the treatment of major arterial injuries.