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Ann Vasc Surg. 2009 May-Jun;23(3):317-23. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2008.05.007. Epub 2008 Aug 9.

Clinical outcome and quality of life after upper extremity arterial trauma.

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  • 1Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Regensburg Medical Center, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


We assessed the long-term clinical outcome of 33 patients treated for arterial trauma of the upper extremity at the Regensburg University Medical Center between 1996 and 2004. Along with clinical parameters, the Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) score and the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36) score of each patient were collected at the time of follow-up. Findings of the clinical assessment were compared to results obtained with the DASH score and the SF-36 questionnaire. The median follow-up time was 42 months. All arterial injuries had been reconstructed and were open at the time of follow-up. The prevalence of concomitant neural and/or orthopedic injuries was high (24/33, 72%). The influence of neural injury was by far greater than the impact of other factors on the long-term functional outcome. Furthermore, blunt trauma and the need for immediate fasciotomy were further markers for deficient functional recovery. Both the DASH and the SF-36 scores correlated with the clinical assessment of the severity of functional deficits. Upper extremity vascular trauma is almost always associated with severe concomitant orthopedic and/or neural injuries. The involvement of the brachial plexus and the peripheral nerves of the upper extremity is a predictor of worse long-term functional outcome.

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