Concomitant orthopedic and vascular injuries as predictors for limb loss in blunt lower extremity trauma.Am Surg. 1997 Jan; 63(1):24-8.AS
Lower extremity trauma with concomitant orthopedic and vascular injury is associated with a high degree of limb loss. Despite successful arterial repair, many patients will ultimately require amputations. The effect of associated orthopedic injuries on limb loss in patients with lower extremity arterial injuries is investigated. From 1989 to 1994, 52 infrainguinal arterial injuries were identified among 365 vascular trauma patients. Clinical determinants were retrospectively assessed for the ability to predict postoperative amputations. Femoral artery injuries were present in 23 patients, with 53 per cent the result of blunt trauma. The incidence of lower extremity fractures was 53 per cent (60% open). Seventy-nine per cent of femoral artery injuries were repaired with saphenous vein grafts. Popliteal artery injuries were present in 13 patients, with 77 per cent the result of blunt trauma. The incidence of lower extremity fractures and posterior knee dislocations was 85 per cent (73% open) and 38 per cent, respectively. Ninety-two per cent of injuries were repaired with saphenous vein grafts. Tibial artery injuries were present in 16 patients, with 44 per cent the result of blunt trauma. The incidence of lower extremity fractures was 81 per cent (46% open). Twenty-five per cent of tibial artery injuries were treated with arterial repair, and 31 per cent with arterial ligation. Fourteen above-knee (AKA) and two below-knee amputations were performed. Amputation rates were 26.1 per cent (three AKAs) for femoral, 53.8 per cent (seven AKAs) for popliteal, and 38 per cent (four AKAs, two below-knee amputations) for tibial artery injuries. At the popliteal and femoral locations, greater than two long-bone fractures was predictive of amputation. For tibial arteries, one-vessel (n = 10), two-vessel (n = 3), and three-vessel (n = 3) injuries were associated with 20, 33, and 100 per cent amputations rates, respectively. Blunt injury, pulseless extremity, need for arterial repair (rather than ligation or no therapy), increasing number of injured tibial vessels, and multiple long-bone fractures were predictors of amputation (P < 0.05). Distal vascular injuries combined with complex orthopedic fractures are more likely to result in limb loss. Two or more long-bone fractures is predictive of amputation at all three locations.