September 1993

The Role of Duplex Ultrasound Arterial Imaging in Patients With Penetrating Extremity Trauma

Author Affiliations

From the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco General Hospital (Dr Knudson, Mr Atkinson, and Ms Neuhaus); and the Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich (Dr Lewis).

Arch Surg. 1993;128(9):1033-1038. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1993.01420210097013

Objective:  To investigate the role of color-flow duplex ultrasound vascular imaging in screening patients for potential arterial injuries following penetrating trauma of the extremities.

Design:  In this prospective study, patients with penetrating trauma in proximity to major peripheral vessels but without signs of arterial injury underwent color-flow duplex imaging. Patients with abnormal color-flow duplex examination results were then studied with angiography, and the results of the two studies were compared. In patients who presented with signs of arterial injury, immediate operative exploration and/or angiography was performed.

Setting:  An urban trauma center.

Patients:  Patients entering the trauma center with penetrating trauma between April 1991 and December 1992.

Results:  Seventy-seven patients with 86 extremity injuries were initially screened with color-flow duplex imaging. Four patients had positive study results, and all injuries were confirmed with angiography (100% true positive). No missed arterial injuries were detected in clinical follow-up.

Conclusions:  Color-flow duplex imaging reliably detects occult arterial injuries and may also have a role in following up minor injuries treated without surgery.(Arch Surg. 1993;128:1033-1038)