Traumatic Vascular Injury and its Management with Temporary Intravascular Shunts: A Puerto Rico Trauma Hospital’s Experience

Rafael De Ayala-Hillman, Nelson A. Crespo-Martínez, Omar García-Rodríguez, Ediel O. Ramos-Meléndez, Pablo Rodriguez-Ortiz


Objective: Temporary intravascular shunts (TIVSs) are commonly used as a damagecontrol procedure in trauma settings. Currently, there is scarce literature in the civilian field, and what there is is limited to large trauma centers with multiple resources. Therefore, we aimed to describe TIVS usage, and the outcomes of that usage, at Puerto Rico Trauma Hospital. Materials and Methods: This is a case series conducted from 2009 to 2013 with 32 patients who suffered vascular trauma, of which 13 needed TIVSs. Data related to age, trauma mechanism, injured vessel, type of shunt, Glasgow Coma Scale, vital signs, and mortality were collected. The analysis was carried out using descriptive statistics. This protocol was approved by the IRB of the Medical Sciences Campus. Results: The most frequent mechanism of injury was a gunshot (11/13; 84.6%). The most commonly injured vessel was the superficial femoral artery. Indwelling time ranged from 6 to 96 hours. Only 2 of the 13 (15.4%) patients with shunts reported thrombosis. Furthermore, we performed 4 (30.7% of the patients) prophylactic fasciotomies and 4 (30.7% of the patients) amputations; 4 of the 13 (30.7%) patients died from unrelated causes. Conclusion: Our results are consistent with those in the literature, which supports our contention that a TIVS can be an effective component of damage-control vascular surgery and can, in both military and civilian settings, aid in extremity amputation prevention. Furthermore, it has been established that a TIVS can be fashioned from any available hollow tube. However, further research is needed to evaluate the safety of an improvised catheter of this nature.

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