This is a retrospective study of 74 patients with penetrating injuries of the abdominal inferior vena cava; the cause of injury was gunshot in 91% and stabbing in 9%. Of the patients, 77% underwent lateral venorrhaphy, 5% underwent infrarenal ligation of the inferior vena cava (IVC), and 18% died perioperatively before any caval repair could be carried out. There was an overall perioperative mortality of 39%. Persistent shock, the site of the venous injury, particularly in the retrohepatic position, and the number of associated vascular injuries were directly related to mortality. Irrespective of the improvements in resuscitation and the various operative methods available, penetrating trauma of the abdominal IVC remains a life-threatening injury.