Balloon Rises Above: REBOA at Zone 1 May Be Superior to Resuscitative Thoracotomy

Megan Brenner, Bishoy Zakhary, Raul Coimbra, Thomas Scalea, Laura Moore, Ernest Moore, Jeremy Cannon, Chance Spalding, Joseph Ibrahim, Bradley Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The use of Zone 1 REBOA for life-threatening trauma has increased dramatically. STUDY DESIGN: The Aortic Occlusion for Resuscitation in Trauma and Acute Care Surgery database was queried for blunt and penetrating trauma between 2013 and 2021. Outcomes were examined both for mechanisms of injury combined and separately and for combinations of abdominal injury with and without traumatic brain injury and chest injuries (Abbreviated Injury Scale [AIS] score >2). RESULTS: A total of 531 patients underwent REBOA (408 with blunt injury and 123 with penetrating injury) and 1,603 (595 with blunt injury and 1,008 with penetrating injury) underwent resuscitative thoracotomy (RT). Mean age was 38.5 ± 16 years and mean injury severity score was 34.5 ± 21; 57.7% had chest AIS score of more than 2, 21.8% had head AIS score of more than 2, and 37.3% had abdominal AIS score of more than 2. Admission Glasgow Coma Scale was 4.9 + 4, and systolic blood pressure at aortic occlusion (AO) was 22 + 40 mmHg. No differences in outcomes in REBOA or RT patients were identified between institutions (p > 0.5). After inverse probability weighting, Glasgow Coma Scale, age, injury severity score, systolic blood pressure at AO, CPR at AO, and blood product transfusion, REBOA was superior to RT in both blunt (odds ratio [OR] 4.7, 95% CI 1.9 to 11.7) and penetrating (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.7 to 14) injuries, across all spectrums of injury (p < 0.01). Overall mortality was significantly higher for AO more than 90 minutes compared with less than 30 minutes in blunt (OR 4.6, 95% CI 1.5 to 15) and penetrating (OR 5.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 25) injuries. Duration of AO more than 60 minutes was significantly associated with mortality after penetrating abdominal injury (OR 5.1, 95% CI 1.1 to 22) and abdomen and head (OR 5.3, 95% CI 1.6 to 18). CONCLUSIONS: In-hospital survival is higher for patients undergoing REBOA than RT for all injury patterns. Complete AO by REBOA or RT should be limited to less than 30 minutes. Neither hospital and procedure volume nor trauma verification level impacts outcomes for REBOA or RT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-271
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024
Externally publishedYes


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