An observational cohort study of the management and outcomes of vascular trauma
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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate aetiology, presentation, management and mortality following iatrogenic and non-iatrogenic vascular trauma in a regional vascular centre. METHODS: Retrospective observational cohort study of patients presenting with vascular trauma during a seven year period between January 2000 and December 2006. RESULTS: 182 cases of vascular trauma were identified (averaging 26 cases p.a.). The majority (n=132, 73%) were iatrogenic and tended to occur in patients aged >45 years, while 50 (27%) were penetrating/blunt, non-iatrogenic and predominantly occurred in younger males. The majority of iatrogenic vascular injuries (80/132) (61%) followed a cardiac intervention (angiography n=56, angioplasty n=23, pacemaker insertion n=1) and are now increasingly treated by non-operative therapies (thrombin, coils and covered stents). Overall, non-iatrogenic vascular trauma was associated with 4% mortality, compared with 7% following iatrogenic injury. However, while iatrogenic trauma of cardiological origin was associated with a mortality of only 1.3% (1/80), iatrogenic trauma of non-cardiological origin incurred a mortality of 17% (9/52). CONCLUSIONS: The commonest cause of vascular trauma (and with the lowest mortality rate) was cardiological related iatrogenic injury. However, while non-cardiological iatrogenic injury occurred with the same incidence as penetrating/blunt trauma, it was associated with a fourfold excess mortality.
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