This is a case report of a patient who sustained a stab wound to the right axilla with injuries to the right axillary artery and vein. The patient had near-exsanguination in the field and no recordable blood pressure upon admission to the trauma center. Resuscitation was performed with endotracheal intubation, a left anterolateral resuscitative thoracotomy with cross-clamping of the descending thoracic aorta, and the rapid infusion of crystalloid solutions and packed red cells. In the operating room, the third portion of the right axillary artery and the adjacent right axillary vein were found to be transected. As part of a ‘damage control’ procedure, the ends of the right axillary vein were ligated. A 14 French intra-arterial shunt was inserted into the transected ends of the right axillary artery to restore the flow to the right upper extremity. The patient’s postoperative course was complicated by a coagulopathy, adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and anuria. The coagulopathy and anuria resolved within the first 48 hours, but the patient’s ARDS was slow to resolve. On the 10th postinjury day, the patient was returned to the operating room for a definitive repair of the right axillary artery. After the intra-arterial shunt was removed, a reversed greater saphenous vein graft was inserted between the ends of the right axillary artery in a medial intermuscular (extra-anatomic) tunnel. The patient made an uneventful recovery and was discharged home on the 16th postinjury day.
The following principles of advanced trauma care were part of the management of this patient: (1) occasional need for resuscitative thoracotomy with cross-clamping of the descending thoracic aorta in a patient without a thoracic injury; (2) ‘damage control’ operation with ligation of the right axillary vein and placement of a temporary intra-arterial shunt to restore the flow to the right upper extremity; and (3) vascular reconstruction with an extra-anatomic bypass in a previously contaminated field.
- wounds, penetrating
- arm injuries
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Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval This is a case report describing the clinical management of a single patient. This is not a research study, and, therefore, no Institutional Review Board approval was sought before submitting the article as the patient cannot be identified by publisher or readers.
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