As the incidence of civilian penetrating trauma increases, so do the number of injuries to major vascular structures. These may account for only a small proportion of the total number of cases of penetrating abdominal trauma, but are frequently fatal. With improved methods of transportation and resuscitation of the critically injured patient, more and more patients with vascular injuries will survive until they can be operated upon. Improved surgical salvage will then depend upon immediate recognition that major vascular injury exists and prompt control of the damaged vessel. We have developed a method which permits rapid exposure of injuries of the aorta, the vena cava, and their major branches.
In the past five years, 46 patients with intra-abdominal vascular injuries involving the aorta, the vena cava, or their major visceral branches were admitted to San Francisco General Hospital (Table 1). The average age of the patients was 34