Air Force

Vascular Injury Shunt

A vascular injury shunt to restore blood flow to an injured extremity until definitive vascular repair can be accomplished

Medical & Biotechnology

ImageExtremity vascular injury results in bleeding and lack of blood flow beyond the site of vessel disruption (ischemia). Priorities in this setting include hemorrhage control, management of life-threatening injuries, and restoration of flow to the extremity. While definitive vessel repair is optimal, austere conditions, life threatening injuries, and Medevac often prohibit this option. Alternatively a temporary vascular shunt (a small caliber hollow plastic tube) may be placed in the uninjured segments of vessel above and below the disruption to restore blood flow until conditions improve and the shunt can be removed and repair performed. Wartime and civilian reports confirm the effectiveness of vascular shunts; however, at present their use is a nascent art. Current shunts were designed by vascular and neurosurgeons for use in age related vascular disease and not injury. As such existing technology is suboptimal for vascular injury.

The US Air Force has developed a trauma-specific vascular injury shunt (TS-VIS), which represents a breakthrough in the management of extremity vascular injury. The device has been designed by combat surgeons and military researchers to allow this capability to be applied in different operational environments including civilian and wartime. Its features also minimize the risk of complications, ensure its adaptability to the unique needs of patients, and allow infusion of therapeutic (therapeutic reperfusion) or contrast agents (angiography) into the injured limb.

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