Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta: Principles, Initial Clinical Experience, and Considerations for the Anesthesiologist

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Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is an endovascular technique that allows for temporary occlusion of the aorta in patients with severe, life-threatening, trauma-induced noncompressible hemorrhage arising below the diaphragm. REBOA utilizes a transfemoral balloon catheter inserted in a retrograde fashion into the aorta to provide inflow control and support blood pressure until definitive hemostasis can be achieved. Initial retrospective and registry clinical data in the trauma surgical literature demonstrate improvement in systolic blood pressure with balloon inflation and improved survival compared to open aortic cross-clamping via resuscitative thoracotomy. However, there are no significant reports of anesthetic implications and perioperative management in this challenging cohort. In this narrative, we review the principles, technique, and logistics of REBOA deployment, as well as initial clinical outcome data from our level-1 American College of Surgeons–verified trauma center. For anesthesiologists who may not yet be familiar with REBOA, we make several suggestions and recommendations for intraoperative management based on extrapolation from these initial surgical-based reports, opinions from a team with increasing experience, and translated experience from emergency aortic vascular surgical procedures. Further prospective data will be necessary to conclusively guide anesthetic management, especially as potential complications and implications for global organ function, including cerebral and renal, are recognized and described.

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