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May 1981

Cervicomediastinal Arterial Injuries: A Surgical Challenge

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa.

Arch Surg. 1981;116(5):663-668. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1981.01380170139025

• The initial clinical observations and methods and results of treatment in 104 patients with subclavian (48), vertebral (four), and carotid (52) artery injuries are reported. Delayed hemorrhage ten days after misdiagnosed subclavian artery injuries resulted in false aneurysms causing compressive brachial plexus palsies. A conservative approach to penetrating cervicomediastinal wounds was adopted with selective use of arch aortography when arterial injury was suspected by defined criteria. This proved safe, accurate, and invaluable for planning operative approach. Partial median sternotomy without entering the pleura proved optimal for superior mediastinal access; simple clavicle transection provided adequate distal subclavian exposure. External carotid and vertebral arteries were ligated. No shunts were employed for common and internal carotid repair. None of the 14 patients revascularized in the presence of a neurologic deficit died and none was made worse by carotid reconstruction.

(Arch Surg 1981;116:663-668)