Isolated axillary artery injury due to blunt trauma

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Hacettepe University, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.
Ulusal travma ve acil cerrahi dergisi = Turkish journal of trauma & emergency surgery: TJTES (Impact Factor: 0.38). 05/2007; 13(2):145-8.
Source: PubMed


The intimal damage of the axillary artery due to an acute, single blunt trauma is very rare without concomitant bone, brachial plexus, venous and soft tissue injuries. Early diagnosis and appropriate management of the arterial injury is essential to avoid permanent disability. The clinical signs are usually occult and do not become manifest until a long ischemic interval following injury, owing to the extensive collateral network. A twenty-year-old male patient had injured his left arm in a hyperabduction and hyperextension position while he was carrying a refrigerator with his arm. An increase in the intensity of pain and numbness reappeared in his left arm 1.5 months after the trauma. Digital subtraction angiography of the axillary artery performed after his hospitalization showed an occlusion of the axillary artery and no reconstitution of distal part of the occlusion via collateral vessels. During the operation, the axillary and brachial arteries were bypassed with a saphenous graft. As shown in this case report, in the early period after blunt trauma of the upper limb, progressive signs of vascular compromise may disappear because of collateral circulation even if the distal pulses are absent. Then an angiography of the upper limb becomes essential for correct diagnosis and treatment. This is our second experience. On the basis of our first experience that was reported, in such a chronic case, oral anticoagulation must be carried out at least six months whenever a graft thrombosis after revascularization is encountered.


Available from: Halil Ibrahim Ucar
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    • "Injuries of the axillary artery are not common [1] [2] and fractures of the upper end of the humerus/humerus neck are rarely associated with injuries of the axillary artery [3] [4], probably due to the abundance of loose connective tissue and soft tissue space in the axilla along with absence of tight compartments. Fractures of the distal one-third of the humerus in contrast to the proximal humerus are commonly associated with brachial artery injury and radial nerve injuries because of tight compartments and close proximity of the neurovascular bundle with the humerus. "
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