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J Trauma. 2011 Apr;70(4):823-8. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31820d0db6.

Pediatric vascular injuries: acute management and early outcomes.

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Department of Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA.



Although uncommon in children, traumatic vascular injuries have the potential for lifelong disability. We reviewed these injuries, their acute management, and early outcomes at a Level I trauma center.


Retrospective review of patients identified through trauma registry was query of all noniatrogenic vascular injuries in a pediatric population during a 13-year period. Demographics, injury type and management, concomitant injuries, and inpatient outcomes were analyzed.


From 1995 to 2008, 8,247 children with traumatic injuries were admitted. Of which 116 (1.4%) sustained 138 significant vascular injuries; 111 arterial and 27 venous. Mean age was 12.7 years ± 4.1 years. Penetrating mechanism was more frequent (57.8%; 67 of 116) than blunt (42.2%; 49 of 116). The overall mean injury severity score was 17.3, of which 12.3 ± 11.7 was for penetrating trauma and 24.1 ± 19.3 for blunt trauma. Thirteen of the 36 patients with torso injuries and one with carotid/jugular injury died. The surviving 102 patients sustained 118 vascular injuries (102 arterial and 16 venous). Of this group, 15 (14.6%) had multiple vascular injuries. There were 23 (22.5%) with torso injuries, 72 (70.6%) with extremity injuries, and 7 (6.9%) with cerebrovascular injuries. Primary repair was the most common arterial repair technique for survivors (25.5%, 26 of 102) and was used more frequently in penetrating trauma (35.0%, 21 of 60) than blunt trauma (12.0%, 5 of 42). Limb salvage was 97.4% (113 of 116).


Pediatric vascular trauma is uncommon. Penetrating mechanism is more common than blunt. Injuries to the torso carry a high mortality. Limb salvage is almost universal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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