Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta: A Review for Emergency Clinicians

Brit Long, Lee Hafen, Alex Koyfman, Michael Gottlieb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Non-compressible torso hemorrhage (NCTH) is difficult to control and associated with significant mortality. Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) utilizes an infra-diaphragmatic approach to control NCTH and is less invasive than resuscitative thoracotomy (RT). This article highlights the evidence for REBOA and provides an overview of the indications, procedural steps, and complications in adults for emergency clinicians. Discussion: Traumatic hemorrhage can be life threatening. Patients in extremis, whether from NCTH or exsanguination from other sites, may require RT with aortic cross-clamping. REBOA offers another avenue for proximal hemorrhage control and can be completed by emergency clinicians. The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and the American College of Emergency Physicians recently released a joint statement detailing the indications for REBOA in adults. The evidence behind its use remains controversial, with significant heterogeneity among studies. Most studies demonstrate improved blood pressure without a significant improvement in mortality. Procedural steps include arterial access (most commonly the common femoral artery), positioning the initial sheath, balloon preparation and positioning, balloon inflation, securing the balloon/sheath, subsequent hemorrhage control, balloon deflation, and balloon/sheath removal. Several major complications can occur with REBOA placement. Future studies should evaluate training protocols, the role of simulation, and which target populations would benefit most from REBOA. Conclusions: REBOA can provide proximal hemorrhage control and can be performed by emergency clinicians. This article evaluates the evidence, indications, procedure, and complications for emergency clinicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-697
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • aortic occlusion
  • balloon
  • catheter
  • complication
  • hemorrhage
  • junctional hemorrhage
  • resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta: A Review for Emergency Clinicians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this