Outcomes for cervicomediastinal vascular trauma managed by a vascular subspecialistled vascular trauma service
Background: The management of cervicomediastinal vascular trauma is challenging. We report on our experience with the condition in a newly established vascular trauma service unit, and compare the outcomes to those reported in our parent vascular surgery department.
Method: The details of patients with cervicomediastinal vascular injuries from January 2012 to June 2014 were retrieved for analysis from a prospective database.
Results: Ninety-three patients were identified, 84 of whom were male (90%), with an average age of 29 years. Most were penetrating injuries (89%), and 87% of these were due to stab wounds. There were 107 vascular injuries, 88 cervical and 19 mediastinal. Of these, 87 were arterial and 20 venous injuries. The most common arterial injury involved the subclavian artery (24%), followed by the common carotid artery (22%). Management was multimodal, and included conservative (8%), stenting and embolisation (8%), referral to a higher centre (8%), vascular repair (64%) and ligation (12%). Nineteen per cent required median sternotomy or thoracotomy. Eight patients died postoperatively (9%). Seven of them presented in extremis and died within 24 hours, and one died after a week from associated abdominal injuries. Postoperative complications were 9%. There was no incidence of a stroke or limb loss despite ligation of the arteries, including ligation of four internal carotids.
Conclusion: The development of endovascular techniques would allow for noninvasive management of a significant number of patients. Open surgery is still necessary, and associated with significant morbidity. Comparable results were reported in our newly established vascular trauma service unit to those obtained in our parent vascular surgery department in Durban.