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Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta for pelvic blunt trauma and life-threatening hemorrhage

A 20-year experience in a Level I trauma center

Pieper, Audrey MD; Thony, Frédéric MD; Brun, Julien MD; Rodière, Mathieu MD; Boussat, Bastien MD; Arvieux, Catherine MD, PhD; Tonetti, Jérôme MD, PhD; Payen, Jean-François MD, PhD; Bouzat, Pierre MD, PhD

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: March 2018 - Volume 84 - Issue 3 - p 449–453
doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001794
Original Articles
Editor's Choice

BACKGROUND Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) is increasingly used as a noninvasive clamp of the aorta after diverse posttraumatic injuries. Balloon inflation in zone 3 (from the lower renal artery to the aortic bifurcation) can be performed to stop ongoing bleeding after severe pelvic trauma with life-threatening hemorrhage. The aim of our study was to describe our 20-year experience with REBOA in terms of efficacy and safety in patients with a suspicion of severe pelvic trauma and extreme hemorrhagic shock.

METHODS We performed a retrospective study from 1996 to 2017 in a French Level I trauma center. All consecutive patients who underwent a REBOA procedure were included. REBOA indication relied on (1) extreme hemodynamic instability (systolic arterial blood pressure [SBP] < 60 mm Hg on admission, SBP < 90 mm Hg despite initial resuscitation in the trauma bay or posttraumatic cardiac arrest) and (2) positive pelvic X-ray. Efficacy endpoints were vital signs and coagulation parameters before and after balloon inflation. Safety endpoints were REBOA-related complications: vascular events, acute renal failure, and rhabdomyolysis.

RESULTS Within the study period, 32 patients underwent a REBOA procedure. Only two patients had technical failure and balloon was not inflated in one patient. Nineteen patients did not survive at day 28. The REBOA significantly improved SBP from 60 (35–73) mm Hg to 115 (91–128) mm Hg (p < 0.001). We also reported a high rate of vascular complications (19%, n = 5 patients) but no amputation. Renal replacement therapy was initiated in 11 patients, and 15 patients had severe rhabdomyolysis.

CONCLUSION The REBOA is safe and effective in improving hemodynamics after severe pelvic trauma and life-threatening hemorrhage. Our study supports the use of REBOA as a bridge to definitive hemostatic treatment after severe pelvic trauma.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic, level IV.

From the Grenoble Alps Trauma Center, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (A.P., J.B., J.F.P., P.B.), Department of Radiology (F.T., M.R.), Quality of Care Unit (B.B.), Grenoble University Hospital; Grenoble Alps University (B.B., C.A., J.T., J.F.P., P.B.); Department of Emergency Surgery and Visceral Surgery (C.A.), and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (J.T.), Grenoble University Hospital, Grenoble, France.

Submitted: October 25, 2017, Revised: December 11, 2017, Accepted: December 22, 2017, Published online: January 2, 2018.

Address for reprints: Pierre Bouzat, MD, PhD, Pôle d’Anesthésie-Réanimation, Hôpital Albert Michallon, BP 217, F-38043 Grenoble, France; email:

© 2018 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.