CT angiography in pediatric extremity trauma: Preoperative evaluation prior to reconstructive surgery

Charles S. Hsu, Jeffrey C. Hellinger, Geoffrey D. Rubin, James Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Computed tomographic angiography (CTA) is a noninvasive modality for evaluating the vascular system and planning treatment strategies. The goal of this study was to validate the clinical utility of CTA in assessment of suspected pediatric extremity traumatic vascular injury, prior to emergent and delayed reconstructive surgery. A retrospective review was performed of all operative patients under 18 years of age who underwent multidetector-row CTA for evaluation of suspected extremity vascular injury. Parameters investigated included age, type of injury, referral source, temporal relationship between the injury and the CTA, CTA findings, operations performed, intraoperative findings, and clinical outcome. Between January 2002 and September 2005, 10 pediatric patients (6 males/4 females; mean age 8 years old, range 3-17) sustained either blunt (N=8) or penetrating (N=2) trauma and underwent CTA of the upper (N=5) or lower extremities (N=5). A total of 30% (3/10) of patients were referred from the emergency department acutely, 50% (5/10) were referred from the inpatient wards subacutely, and 20% (2/10) were referred from the outpatient clinics electively. Half (N=5) underwent CTA to evaluate need for vascular repair, whereas half (N=5) underwent CTA to evaluate local vasculature for flap reconstruction. Overall, 40% (4/10) of CTA findings were normal, whereas 60% (6/10) revealed traumatic vascular injuries. Pertinent nonvascular findings included soft tissue defects (60%, 6/10), fractures (40%, 4/ 10), and contracture deformities (20%, 2/10). In all cases, procedures were completed without complications, and intraoperative findings confirmed those from CTA. At a mean follow-up of 28 months, all injuries have healed without complications. CTA is a reliable noninvasive modality to evaluate pediatric patients with suspected traumatic extremity vascular injury and to plan treatment strategies for both vascular repair and extremity reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical utility
  • Computed tomographic angiography
  • Pediatric extremity traumatic vascular injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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