Unrecognised and uncontrolled haemorrhage can rapidly
lead to the demise of the trauma patient. Unrecognised
and untreated ischaemia can lead to limb loss, stroke,
bowel necrosis and multiple organ failure. The aim of
this article is to highlight the fundamentals of vascular
trauma and provide an approach to the diagnosis and
management of vascular injury.
Arterial and venous structures are most commonly injured
by penetrating trauma, with a much higher incidence
in gunshot wounds than for stab injury. Blunt trauma
also carries a significant vascular injury rate, and
iatrogenic vascular injuries are increasing with radiological
and minimal access procedures becoming more commonplace.