Increased detection of blunt carotid and vertebral artery injury after implementation of diagnostic imaging pathway in level 1 trauma centre in Western Australia

Manimaran Sinnathamby, Sudhakar V. Rao, Dieter G. Weber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The incidence of Blunt Carotid Artery and Vertebral Artery Injury (BCVI) is relatively low in modern trauma practice. However, these injuries may be associated with severe neurological consequences. Following the introduction of a Diagnostic Imaging Pathway in Department of Health of Western Australia, we hypothesized that this injury would be less likely to be missed, and accordingly diagnosed more frequently.

    Method: A review of all major trauma (Injury Severity Scale > 15) admissions at the State Major Trauma Centre in Royal Perth Hospital was undertaken from 1995 until 2013. BCVI was identified from the hospital's trauma registry. The medical records of these patients were then reviewed.

    Result: 58 of 7451 (0.78%) major trauma patients were diagnosed of BCVI during the study period. An increased incidence, from 0.52% (20/3880) to 1.06% (38/3571), was seen after the introduction of the Diagnostic Imaging Pathway in 2007 (p = 0.010). The majority of the cases were caused by motor vehicle crashes, with 66% (n = 38) of the cases sustaining concomitant head or cervical spine injury. Other commonly associated injuries included chest, extremity and thoracic spine injury.

    Conclusion: Our study reports a significant increase in the diagnosis of BCVI among major traumas after the introduction of a Diagnostic Imaging Pathway for the screening of this injury in 2007. The previously low incidence of BCVI compared with other centres' reports indicated possible previous under-screening and diagnosis of this injury. (C) 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1917-1921
    Number of pages5
    JournalInjury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017

    Cite this