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Am Surg. 2003 Jun;69(6):485-9; discussion 490.

Popliteal artery trauma in a rural level I trauma center.

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Section of Trauma, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, University Health Systems of Eastern North Carolina, Greenville, NC 27858-4354, USA.


Popliteal vascular trauma has historically been an urban phenomenon. We hypothesized that rural popliteal artery injury would result more often from blunt mechanisms of injury (MOI), have a longer time to operation, and result in a higher amputation rate. We retrospectively reviewed all cases of popliteal artery injury from December 1994 to May 2001 at our rural trauma center. Age, gender, Injury Severity Score (ISS), MOI, scene transport versus transfer from a referring hospital, time to operation, and operative times were studied. Significance was determined by Student's t test with a P value < or = 0.05. Thirty-two popliteal artery injuries were found. Blunt trauma accounted for 50 per cent of the injuries. Eighty-eight per cent of the patients were transferred from a referring hospital. Patients transported directly from the scene had a higher ISS. Longer operative times translated into an increased need for fasciotomy. The amputation rate was 19 per cent. This is the first attempt to delineate the specific nature of rural popliteal artery trauma. The amputation rate was not different between the two different MOI and was independent of the time to operation. Of those patients receiving an amputation 83 per cent were transferred from another hospital and despite a statistically lower ISS still required an amputation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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