Brachial Artery Reconstruction in Trauma Using Reversed Arm Vein from the Injured Upper Limb

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Brachial artery repair may be technically challenging with a paucity of guidelines. The use arm vein (AV) from the traumatized limb is herein described.


Data were prospectively collected from 2002 to 2016 on brachial artery injury including age, sex, mechanism/site of injury, and repair technique. Categories included AV and non-arm vein (NAV) groups. One-year outcomes were noted.


All 31 cases studied were of men with an age range of 16 to 73 years (mean = 28). Injuries included 13 gunshots, 7 stabbings, 6 glass injuries, 2 dislocated elbows, 1 crush, 1 impalement, and 1 avulsion. Site of injuries included the antecubital region in 25, midbrachial in 5, and proximal brachial in 1, with 4 associated fractures. Repair was done using reversed AV from the traumatized limb in 15 cases and NAV in 16. In the AV group, the adjacent basilic vein was used in 9 cases, the adjacent cephalic vein in 3, and the distal (or wrist area) cephalic vein in 3. The limb salvage rates in the AV versus NAV groups were 100% and 94%, respectively (Fisher’s exact t test, P = 1.00), with no major technique-related complications.


The outcomes of using reversed AV from the traumatized limb are equivalent to those of other standard techniques such as primary repair, polytetrafluoroethylene, or reversed great saphenous vein, with a 1-year limb salvage rate of 100%. Additionally, advantages include decreased wound complications, better vein graft--artery caliber match, and shorter operating times while maintaining acceptable patency rates.

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