Although management of penetrating abdominal trauma has greatly improved, abdominal aortic gunshot wounds (AAGSWs) remain a highly lethal injury. Our experience with AAGSWs was reviewed to define operative strategies that may improve survival.Forty-one patients with AAGSWs were treated between 1976 and 1996. Preliminary thoractomy was performed in seven patients. Thirty-nine patients had at least one major associated injury (average, 3.2).Twenty-one patients died. Six of seven patients who underwent preliminary thoracotomy died; all developed coagulopathy, which appeared to contribute to death. Four patients had missed vascular lesions, two of which contributed to their death. Associated injuries are currently managed by "damage control" strategy, in which some injuries are left untreated to focus on hemorrhage control.We have identified seven operative principles and procedures that we believe may improve survival: (1) thorough knowledge of supraceliac exposure; (2) rapid aortic control at the hiatus rather than by a preliminary thoracotomy; (3) use damage control or abbreviated laparotomy; (4) use packing and mesh closure when coagulopathy and hypothermia are present; (5) primary concern should be cessation of hemorrhage rather than the maintenance of flow; (6) delayed reconstruction using extraanatomic bypass can restore flow; and (7) use angiography to detect missed vascular lesions or problems with vascular repair.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VP42300028
View details for PubMedID 8862376