Objectives Vascular injury in pediatric trauma patients is uncommon but associated with a reported mortality greater than 19% in some series. The purpose of this study was to characterize pediatric major vascular injuries (MVIs) and analyze mortality at a high-volume combined adult and pediatric trauma center. Methods A retrospective review (January 2000 to May 2016) was conducted of all pediatric (<18 years old) trauma patients who presented with a vascular injury. A total of 177 patients were identified, with 60 (34%) having an MVI, defined as injury in the neck, torso, or proximal extremity. Patients were then further analyzed based on location of injury, mechanism, age, and race. P ≤ 0.05 was deemed significant. Results Of the 60 patients with MVI, the mean age was 14.3 years (range, 4-17 years). Mean intensive care unit length of stay (LOS) was 5.4 days, and mean hospital LOS was 12.5 days. Blunt mechanism was more common in patients 14 years or younger; penetrating trauma was more common amongst patients older than 14 years. Overall, blunt injuries had a longer intensive care unit LOS compared with penetrating trauma (7.8 vs 3.1 days; P = 0.016). A total of 33% (n = 20) of MVIs occurred in the torso, with 50% (n = 10) of these from blunt trauma. Location of injury did correlate with mortality; 45% (n = 9) of torso MVIs resulted in death (penetrating n = 7, blunt n = 2). Overall mortality from an MVI was 15.3% (n = 9); all were torso MVIs. Higher Injury Severity Score and Glasgow Coma Scale score were found to be independently associated with mortality. Conclusions Our experience demonstrates that MVIs are associated with a significant mortality (15.3%), with a majority of those resulting from gunshot wounds, more than 9-fold greater than the overall mortality of pediatric trauma patients at our institution (1.6%). Further research should be aimed at improving management strategies specific for MVIs in the pediatric trauma patient as gun violence continues to afflict youth in the United States.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Emergency Medicine