Forty-seven patients with 64 popliteal or trifurcation arterial injuries were analyzed to elucidate the influence of associated limb trauma on ultimate functional recovery. Nerve, bone, and soft tissue injuries appeared to be critical risk factors. Two or more risk factors were present in 60 percent of 30 blunt injuries, compared with 17 percent of 18 penetrating injuries. All limbs with less than two of these risk factors recovered to a functional state, whereas none of the limbs with all three risk factors had a good outcome, and 7 of 13 limbs (54 percent) were amputated. Vascular reconstruction was successful in 90 percent of the 48 limbs, and patency was 100 percent among the 27 limbs with less than two risk factors. Patients with all three risk factors should be considered for early amputation. We believe reports of peripheral vascular trauma must delineate associated limb injuries to facilitate analysis of patients stratified by relative risk.
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