Vascular Trauma in Children—Review from a Major Paediatric Center

Sofia Morão, Rita S. Ferreira, Nelson Camacho, Vanda Pratas Vital, João Pascoal, M. Emília Ferreira, L. Mota Capitão, Frederico B. Gonçalves

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Traumatic noniatrogenic vascular injuries in children are rare and rarely discussed in literature. Pediatric vascular injuries pose a set of challenges mainly because of continued growth and development in a child or adolescent. The purpose of the study is to characterize management strategies and outcomes in these cases. Methods: This is a single-center retrospective review of patients less than age 18 years (pediatric age) with acute, noniatrogenic traumatic vascular injuries between January 2009 and December 2015. Patient's demographics, injury characteristics, surgical management, complications, and follow-up were analyzed. Results: From 2009 to 2015, 3277 children with traumatic injuries were treated, of which 21 (0.6%) had 23 significant vascular injuries: 17 arterial and 6 venous injuries. The majority were males (n = 16), and the median age was 14 years (range 1 to 16 years). Penetrating injuries were the predominant mechanism (n = 21), mainly by glass (n = 13). At presentation, 4 patients were hemodynamically unstable, 3 of them in hypovolemic shock. All patients were managed operatively. Operations for arterial injuries included 5 primary arterial repairs, 4 repairs using vein grafts and 8 ligations. The following adjunct procedures were necessary: one 4-compartment leg fasciotomy due to associated soft tissue trauma, 8 tendon repairs, and 11 nerve repairs. Operations for venous injuries included 4 ligations and 2 primary repairs. There were no intraoperative or postoperative deaths, major complications, or limb loss. The median length of stay in the hospital was 6 days (range: 2–23 days). The median time of follow-up was 52 months (range: 20–94 months). Ten patients did not have any sequelae, and 11 patients reported impaired mobility and/or decreased sensation, which was transitory in most cases and related to associated neurological or muscle tendon injuries. All reconstructions remained patent over the course of follow-up. No limb asymmetry was observed. Conclusions: Noniatrogenic pediatric vascular trauma is uncommon. Penetrating mechanism is more common than blunt and extremities are more frequently affected. Overall complications come from associated injuries to tendons and nerves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-233
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of vascular surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


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