Wounds of the extremities in proximity to major arteries: Value of angiography in the detection of arterial injury

J. D S Reid, H. C. Redman, J. A. Weigelt, E. R. Thal, H. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The place of angiography in the diagnosis of arterial injuries in cases of penetrating wounds of the extremities has been a source of controversy, especially when the injury is in proximity to the artery but there is no clinical evidence of arterial injury. The positive yield of angiography has been reported to be between 6% and 20%, but most angiographers suspect the yield to be lower. The cost of angiography continues to increase. A retrospective analysis was performed in 507 patients with 534 possible arterial injuries associated with wounds near vessels. Thirty-one arteries were considered by the radiologist to have surgically significant injury. Seven patients did not have surgery. On the basis of surgical findings in 24 patients, there was a true-positive angiographic yield of 3.6% as well as five false-positive angiograms. Angiographic sensitivity was 100%, specificity 99%, accuracy 99%, positive predictive value 85%, and negative predictive value 100%. Ten (2.0%) minor angiographic complications and two (0.4%) major complications occurred. There were three surgical complications in negative surgeries. False-positive angiograms can probably be reduced by more circumspect evaluation of minor abnormalities. However, the 3.6% true-positive yield must be balanced against the complications of surgery and angiography and the associated costs. Although delayed diagnosis and therapy of arterial injury are less satisfactory than early repair, angiography of wounds in proximity to major extremity arteries should be reserved for situations in which exclusion of injury is critical to overall management of the patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1039
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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