Iatrogenic Vascular Injuries
Abstract: Iatrogenic vascular injuries (IVIs) and injuries associated with vascular surgery can cause severe morbidity and death. The aims of this thesis were to study those injuries in the Swedish vascular registry (Swedvasc), the Swedish medical injury insurance where insurance claims are registered, the Population and Cause of death registries, and in patient records, in order to explore preventive strategies.Among 87 IVIs during varicose vein surgery 43 were venous, mostly causing bleeding in the groin. Among 44 arterial injuries, only 1/3 were detected intraoperatively. Accidental arterial stripping predominated, with poor outcome. Four patients died, all after venous injuries.IVIs increased over time, and constitute more than half of the vascular injuries registered in the Swedvasc. Lethal outcome was more common (4.9%) among patients suffering IVIs than among non-iatrogenic vascular injuries (2.5%). Risk factors for death were age, diabetes, renal insufficiency and obstructive lung-disease.Fifty-two patients died within 30 days after IVI. The most common lethal IVIs were puncture during endovascular procedures (n=24, 46%), penetrating trauma during open surgery (11) and occlusion after compression (6). Symptoms were peripheral ischemia (n=19), external bleeding (14), and hypovolemic chock without external bleeding (10). Most died within two weeks (n=36, 69%). After >2 weeks the IVI as a cause of death was uncertain.Among 193 insurance claims after vascular surgery during 2002-2007, nerve injuries (91) and wound infections (22) dominated. Most patients suffered permanent injuries, three died. Patients with insurance claims were correctly registered in the Swedvasc in 82%.In 32 cases of popliteal artery injury during knee arthroplasty symptoms were bleeding (n=14), ischaemia (n=7) and false aneurysm formation (n=11). Only twelve injuries (38%) were detected intraoperatively. Patency at 30 days was 97%, but only seven (22%) patients had complete recovery. Six of those had intraoperative diagnosis of popliteal injury and immediate vascular repair.In conclusion, registration of IVIs is increasing and outcome is often negatively affected by diagnostic and therapeutic delay. Not all fatalities after IVIs are attributable to the injury itself. The most common causes of insurance claims after vascular surgery were nerve injuries, and 82% were correctly registered in Swedvasc.
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