Temporary intravascular shunt use improves early limb salvage after extremity vascular injury

Jeanette E. Polcz, Joseph M. White*, Alley E. Ronaldi, Joseph J. Dubose, Scott Grey, Devin Bell, Paul W. White, Todd E. Rasmussen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: The use of temporary intravascular shunts (TIVSs) allow for restoration of distal perfusion and reduce ischemic time in the setting of arterial injury. As a damage control method, adjunct shunts restore perfusion during treatment of life-threatening injuries, or when patients require evacuation to a higher level of care. Single-center reports and case series have demonstrate that TIVS use can extend the opportunity for limb salvage. However, few multi-institutional studies on the topic have been reported. The objective of the present study was to characterize TIVS use through a multi-institutional registry and define its effects on early limb salvage. Methods: Data from the Prospective Observation Vascular Injury Treatment registry was analyzed. Civilian patients aged ≥18 years who had sustained an extremity vascular injury from September 2012 to November 2018 were included. Patients who had a TIVS used in the management of vascular injury were included in the TIVS group and those who had received treatment without a TIVS served as the control group. An unadjusted comparison of the groups was conducted to evaluate the differences in the baseline and outcome characteristics. Double robust estimation combining logistic regression with propensity score matching was used to evaluate the effect of TIVS usage on the primary end point of limb salvage. Results: TIVS use was identified in 78 patients from 24 trauma centers. The control group included 613 patients. Unmatched analysis demonstrated that the TIVS group was more severely injured (mean ± standard deviation injury severity score, 18.83 ± 11.76 for TIVS vs 14.93 ± 10.46 for control; P =.002) and had more severely mangled extremities (mean ± standard deviation abbreviated injury scale, extremity, score 3.23 ± 0.80 for TIVS vs 2.95 ± 0.87 for control; P =.008). Logistic regression demonstrated that propensity-matched control patients had a three times greater likelihood of amputation compared with the TIVS patients (odds ratio, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-11.1; P =.026). Concomitant nerve injury and orthopedic fracture were associated with a greater risk of amputation. The median follow-up for the TIVS group was 12 days (interquartile range, 4-25 days) compared with 9 days (interquartile range, 4-18 days) for the control group. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, the present study is the first multicenter, matched-cohort study to characterize early limb salvage as a function of TIVS use in the setting of extremity vascular injury. Shunts expedite limb perfusion and resulted in lower rates of amputation during the early phase of care. The use of TIVS should be one part of a more aggressive approach to restore perfusion in the most injured patients and ischemic limbs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1304-1313
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Limb salvage
  • Temporary shunts
  • Vascular injury
  • Vascular shunts
  • Vascular trauma


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