, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 439-449
Date: 29 Jul 2011

Subclavian vessel injuries: difficult anatomy and difficult territory

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Thoracic and thoracic related vascular injuries represent complex challenges to the trauma surgeon. Subclavian vessel injuries, in particular, are uncommon and highly lethal. Regardless of the mechanism, such injuries can result in significant morbidity and mortality.

Materials and methods

Systematic review of the literature, with emphasis on the diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of these injuries, incorporating the authors’ experience.


These injuries are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Patients who survive transport are subject to potentially debilitating injury and possibly death. Management of these injuries varies, depending on hemodynamic stability, mechanism of injury, and associated injuries. Despite significant advancements, mortality due to subclavian vessel injury remains high.