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Injury. 2004 Nov;35(11):1128-32.

Axillary artery transection following anterior shoulder dislocation: classical presentation and current concepts.

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SSHO, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Wakefield, UK.


Injury to the axillary artery following anterior shoulder dislocation is a very rare occurrence. This review serves to illustrate the now classical case of an elderly gentleman with a recurrent dislocation, transection of the axillary artery and its invariable association with a severe brachial plexus lesion, which is the most important determinant of long-term disability. It also highlights the pathognomic triad of anterior shoulder dislocation, expanding axillary haematoma and diminished peripheral pulse, to highlight awareness of this important injury. The literature on this injury has been reviewed and recommendations for the immediate and early post-operative investigation and management have been brought up to date in line with current thinking.

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