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Abdominal Vascular Injuries Medication

  • Author: Timothy H Pohlman, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, MA  more...
Updated: Dec 20, 2015

Medication Summary

The most important aspects of medical therapy for patients with vascular injuries are adequate oxygen delivery and crystalloid fluid administration. Although colloid solution is mentioned, the mortality benefit of colloid over crystalloid has never been proven. Blood transfusion may also be beneficial for patients with low hemoglobin concentrations.


Isotonic Crystalloids

Class Summary

Isotonic sodium chloride (normal saline [NS]) and lactated Ringer (LR) are isotonic crystalloids, the standard intravenous (IV) fluids used for initial volume resuscitation. They expand the intravascular and interstitial fluid spaces. Typically, about 30% of administered isotonic fluid stays intravascular; therefore, large quantities may be required to maintain adequate circulating volume.

Both fluids are isotonic and have equivalent volume-restorative properties. While some differences exist between metabolic changes observed with the administration of large quantities of either fluid, for practical purposes and in most situations, the differences are clinically irrelevant. No demonstrable difference in hemodynamic effect, morbidity, or mortality exists between resuscitation with NS or LR.

Normal saline (NS, 0.9% NaCl)


NS restores interstitial and intravascular volume. It is used in initial volume resuscitation.

Lactated Ringer


LR restores interstitial and intravascular volume. It is used in initial volume resuscitation.



Class Summary

Colloids are used to provide oncotic expansion of plasma volume. They expand plasma volume to a greater degree than isotonic crystalloids and reduce the tendency of pulmonary and cerebral edema. About 50% of the administered colloid stays intravascular.

Albumin (Buminate, Albuminar)


Albumin is used for certain types of shock or impending shock. It is useful for plasma volume expansion and maintenance of cardiac output. A solution of NS and 5% albumin is available for volume resuscitation. Five percent solutions are indicated to expand plasma volume, whereas 25% solutions are indicated to raise oncotic pressure.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Timothy H Pohlman, MD, FACS Professor, Section of Trauma and Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine; Director, Surgical Critical Care, Methodist Hospital, Indiana University Health Partners, Inc

Timothy H Pohlman, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, Association for Academic Surgery, Society of University Surgeons, Surgical Infection Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


H Scott Bjerke, MD, FACS Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine; Medical Director of Trauma Services, Research Medical Center; Clinical Professor, Department of Surgery, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

H Scott Bjerke, MD, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the History of Medicine, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, American College of Surgeons, Midwest Surgical Association, Royal Society of Medicine, Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Association for Academic Surgery, National Association of EMS Physicians, Pan-Pacific Surgical Association, Southwestern Surgical Congress, Wilderness Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Richard Fogler, MD, DS, FACS Chair, Program Director, Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center

Richard Fogler, MD, DS, FACS is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, American Society of Abdominal Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Robert L Sheridan, MD Assistant Chief of Staff, Chief of Burn Surgery, Shriners Burns Hospital; Associate Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma and Burns, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Robert L Sheridan, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, American Burn Association, American College of Surgeons

Disclosure: Received research grant from: Shriners Hospitals for Children; Physical Sciences Inc<br/>Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: SimQuest Inc -- consultant on burn mapping softwear ($1,500).

Chief Editor

John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, MA Vice Chair and Professor, Department of Surgery, Section of Gastrointestinal Medicine, and Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine; Director, Surgical Research, Department of Surgery, Yale-New Haven Hospital; American Gastroenterological Association Fellow

John Geibel, MD, DSc, MSc, MA is a member of the following medical societies: American Gastroenterological Association, American Physiological Society, American Society of Nephrology, Association for Academic Surgery, International Society of Nephrology, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract

Disclosure: Received royalty from AMGEN for consulting; Received ownership interest from Ardelyx for consulting.

Additional Contributors

Ernest Dunn, MD Program Director, Surgery Residency, Department of Surgery, Methodist Health System, Dallas

Ernest Dunn, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, Association for Academic Surgery, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author Aleksander R Komar, MD, to the development and writing of the source article.

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Abdominal vascular injuries. Tangential gunshot injury to the inferior vena cava repaired by means of lateral venorrhaphy (arrow).
Table 1. American Association for the Surgery of Trauma Organ Injury Scale for Vascular Injuries


Artery InjuredVein Injured




Inferior mesenteric

Primary named vessels of superior mesenteric


Inferior mesenteric




Superior mesenteric




Vena cava (infrarenal)

IVSuperior mesenteric (trunk)

Celiac axis

Aorta (infrarenal)

Vena cava (infrahepatic)
VAorta (suprarenal)Vena cava (suprahepatic)

Vena cava (retrohepatic)


Hepatic (extrahepatic)

* Grade I injury includes the following: No named superior mesenteric artery or superior mesenteric vein branches; nonnamed inferior mesenteric artery or inferior mesenteric vein branches; phrenic artery/vein; lumbar artery/vein; gonadal artery/vein; ovarian artery/vein; other nonnamed small arterial or venous structures requiring ligation.
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