01.12.2013 | Review Article
Vascular complications and special problems in vascular trauma
M. J. Martin, A. J. Perez-Alonso, J. A. Asensio
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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The evaluation and management of patients with vascular trauma or injury often involve rapid decision making in less than ideal circumstances. Immediate consequences such as hemorrhage, ischemia, compartment syndrome, thrombosis, and embolization may be life threatening and require immediate intervention. In addition, a number of regional and systemic complications of the initial vascular pathology are possible, such as shock, acute renal failure, myocardial infarction, or stroke. Understanding the disease process, as well as the optimal diagnostic and therapeutic interventions, is critically important to minimize the risk of these highly morbid or potentially mortal complications. The managing physician must be adept and well versed at both the initial management of the specific vascular injury and the many potential complications that may subsequently arise. This article will review a number of vascular-specific complications and provide details of strategies for their prevention or optimal management. These problems include traumatic injuries to the arterial or venous system, failure of vascular repairs or reconstructions, surgical site and graft infections, anastomotic complications, and compartment syndromes. In addition, arterial and venous complications secondary to the use of illicit intravenous drug use and cocaine-related vascular injury will be discussed. Finally, the increasingly important topic of iatrogenic or procedure-related vascular injuries and complications will be reviewed.