Continued Ultrasound Surveillance Required after Hand Ischemia Associated with Trauma in Children

Melissa L. Kirkwood, Khalil H. Chamseddin, Brianne Hanson, Carlos H. Timaran, Mujtaba Ali, Alexis D. Jacob, John E. Rectenwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hand ischemia following trauma in children is rare, and the natural history after upper extremity arterial bypass in children is unknown. We hypothesize children with brachial artery repair are at long-term risk of developing aneurysmal degeneration or thrombosis, thus necessitating annual duplex ultrasonography and physical examination. Methods: A retrospective review of children who had brachial artery repair (bypass or vein patch) for hand ischemia secondary to trauma at a level I trauma pediatric hospital was performed. Telephone interviews were conducted to assess the presence of arm/hand symptoms (pain, weakness, fatigue, sensory function, limb length discrepancy). Results: Between 2003 and 2016, 16 children (12 males), mean age 8 years (3–13 years) underwent brachial artery repair (12 bypass with vein, 4 vein patch). Mechanism of injury included 11 supracondylar fractures and 5 lacerations. All patients were seen at 2 weeks with a duplex ultrasound. Thirteen patients were lost to follow-up. The 3 patients with follow-up had patent bypasses, but one patient 6 years out from the repair had aneurysmal degeneration of the vein graft. Seven patients were never seen again. Phone interviews were conducted for the remaining 6 patients and 2 complained of arm fatigue and intermittent hand pain. Only one patient reported that the pediatrician checked pulses in the affected extremity. Conclusions: Eighty percentage of children had no further follow-up after the postoperative visit. Asymptomatic aneurysmal degeneration of the vein graft was noted 6 years following repair in one patient, and 2 patients had unevaluated hand complaints. These patients are at risk for late complications and are unlikely to return for routine follow-up. The importance of graft surveillance must be more clearly emphasized at time of initial surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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