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Am Surg. 2001 Feb;67(2):165-7.

Popliteal artery injury associated with knee dislocations.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Wake Forest University Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.


Since the Vietnam War experience we have known that there is a high association between knee dislocations and popliteal artery injuries. In an effort to improve the quality of care we asked whether every patient with a knee dislocation needs an arteriogram. This is a retrospective chart review of all injured patients who presented to Louisiana State University Health Science Center with knee dislocations between January 1, 1993 and March 31, 1998. Twenty-one patients met the study criteria. There were no deaths in this series. Twelve patients presented with normal palpable pulses. Nine of these 12 patients underwent an arteriogram. There was only one abnormal arteriogram (intimal defect) in this group. None of the patients who presented with normal pulses were operated on. There were no in-hospital complications from this nonoperative management. In the group of patients with either diminished pulses or no pulses arteriograms were performed on all patients. Fifty-five per cent of these arteriograms were abnormal, and one-third of these patients (two) were taken to the operating room for repair. In the group of patients who present with knee dislocations and normal peripheral vascular examination arteriograms are not helpful.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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