The use of angiography in pediatric blunt abdominal trauma patients

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Angiography is a common treatment used in adults with blunt abdominal trauma and/or severe pelvic fractures. The Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons has recently advocated for this resource to be urgently available at pediatric trauma centers; however, its usefulness in the pediatric setting is unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence of angiography in the treatment of blunt abdominal trauma among injured children.


An analysis was performed using an established public use data set of children (younger than 18 years) treated at 20 participating trauma centers for blunt torso trauma through the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network. Patients who underwent angiography of the abdomen or pelvis were identified and analyzed.


Of the 12,044 children evaluated for blunt abdominal trauma included within the data set, 973 sustained abdominopelvic injuries. Of these, only 26 (3%) underwent angiography. The median age was 14 years, 65% were males, with a mortality rate of 19%. Overall, 29 angiographic procedures were performed: 21 abdominal, 8 pelvic, with 3 patients undergoing both abdominal and pelvic. Eleven patients underwent embolization of a bleeding vessel, all of which were related to the spleen. No hepatic, renal, or pelvic vessels required embolization. The median time to angiography from emergency department evaluation was 7.3 hours. In addition to angiography, 50% also required surgical intervention, of which 31% underwent a laparotomy. Thirty-five percent of these patients required blood product transfusion, and 42% were admitted to the intensive care unit.


The emergent use of angiography with embolization is uncommon in pediatric patients with blunt abdominal injuries. The requirement that pediatric trauma centers have access to interventional radiology within 30 minutes may be unnecessary.


Epidemiologic study, level III; therapeutic study, level IV.

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