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Analysis of Concomitant and Isolated Venous Injury in Military Lower Extremity Trauma

Published:April 19, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2022.04.003

      Background

      The implications of major venous injury to the lower extremity are not well established. We aimed to determine the significance of concomitant and isolated femoropopliteal venous injury and assess the impact of surgical management strategies on limb outcomes.

      Methods

      The Fasciotomy and Vascular Injury Outcomes database was queried for limbs sustaining femoropopliteal arterial, venous, or concomitant injuries in Iraq or Afghanistan between 2004 and 2012. Demographics, injury patterns and severity, interventions, and outcomes were compared between patients sustaining isolated arterial injuries (IAIs) and concomitant arteriovenous injuries (AVIs). In limbs with any venous injury, outcomes were compared between those undergoing venous repair and venous ligation.

      Results

      Three hundred thirty patients (133 IAIs, 135 AVIs, 62 isolated venous injuries [IVIs]) were included. AVI was associated with greater limb injury severity: median extremity Abbreviated Injury Scale (AVI 4 vs. IAI 3, P = 0.01), Mangled Extremity Severity Score >7 (25.9% vs. 13.5%, P = 0.01), and multilevel vascular injury (6.7% vs. 0.8%, P = 0.01) and with greater fasciotomy use (83.0% vs. 69.2%, P = 0.01). No differences were present in tourniquet use/time, shunting, or nature of arterial repair. No differences in vascular or limb complications (71.1% vs. 63.9%, P = 0.21) or amputation rate (25.9% vs. 18.8%, P = 0.16) were present, though the limb deep venous thrombosis rate was 12.6% in AVIs versus 7.5% in IAIs (P = 0.17). Limbs with IVI had a 12.9% amputation and a 74.2% complication rate. Repair (n = 103) versus ligation (n = 94) of venous injuries was not associated with a difference in amputation (18.4% vs. 25.5%, P = 0.23) or limb complication rates (71.8% vs. 72.3%, P = 0.94).

      Conclusions

      Despite higher extremity injury severity and more frequent fasciotomies, concomitant venous injury was not associated with poorer limb salvage or complications. With nontrivial amputation and complication rates, IVI is indicative of severe limb trauma. Repair of femoropopliteal venous injuries does not appear to influence limb outcomes.
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