Application of an external fixator vascular compressor (EFVC) in the critically injured trauma patient: a novel damage control technique

  • Bradley Saitta
  • Jonathan EdgingtonEmail author
  • Theodore Hart
  • Kenneth Wilson
  • Gary An
  • Miguel Daccarett
  • Jason Strelzow
Up-to date Review and Case Report • PELVIS - TRAUMA


Methods of controlling hemorrhage in penetrating abdominal injuries are varied, ranging from electrocautery, ligation, laparotomy sponge packing, angiography, hemostatic agents, and direct manual pressure. Unfortunately, traditional methods are sometimes unsuccessful due to the location or nature of the hemorrhage, and manual pressure cannot be held indefinitely. We describe a novel damage control technique for hemorrhage control in these situations, followed by three cases where an external fixator vascular compressor (EFVC) was used to hold continual pressure. Three patients are presented to a Level 1 trauma center following multiple ballistic injuries, all requiring emergent exploratory laparotomy. The first had a two-pin iliac crest EFVC placed during repeat exploratory laparotomy to control bleeding. The second patient had a supra-acetabular EFVC placed during initial exploratory laparotomy after emergent embolization failed to control bleeding from the L3 vertebral body. The third patient had a two-pin iliac crest EFVC placed at initial exploratory laparotomy due to uncontrollable bleeding from the sacral venous plexus and internal iliac veins. Of the three patients, two stabilized and survived, while one passed away due to multi-organ failure. We describe a novel damage control technique that may be a useful means of temporarily stemming intraabdominal bleeding that is otherwise recalcitrant to traditional hemostatic methods. Additionally, we provided a limited case series of patients who have undergone this technique to illustrate its utility and versatility. This technique is simple, fast, effective, and adaptable to a variety of circumstances that may be encountered in patients with intraabdominal bleeding recalcitrant to conventional hemorrhage control.


Intraabdominal hemorrhage Hemorrhage control Hemostasis External fixation Damage control 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical CareUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Trauma Surgery and Surgical Critical CareUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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