Arterial injuries from dog bites - Tips from Other Journals

Date: Dec, 1990

Infection is the most common complication of dog bites. Other complications include cosmetic disfigurement, epidermal inclusion cysts, functional impairment and psychologic trauma. Snyder and Pentecost retrospectively studied the incidence of arterial injuries secondary to dog bites.

During a three-year period, 37 patients underwent angiography for evaluation of extremity arterial injuries sustained from dog bites. Thirty-five had been admitted on the jail medical ward. Ten patients had angiography performed in more than one extremity. Indications for angiography included proximity of the injury to a major vessel, absent or decreased arterial pulses, sensory or motor deficit, large or expanding hematoma and active bleeding.

Forty-six of 48 angiograms were performed to evaluate injuries secondary to police-dog bites. Two angiograms were performed to evaluate nonpolice-dog bites, and both were negative. Ten of 48 angiograms (21 percent) demonstrated significant arterial injuries. Seven of the ten arterial injuries were in the right upper extremity. Absent or decreased pulses were observed in five patients. The most common vascular injury was occlusion (six of ten patients). Surgical repair was required in three patients.

The authors conclude that dog bites of the upper extremity can result in serious arterial injury. Careful physical examination is required. (Annals of Emergency Medicine, September 1990, vol. 19, p. 983.)

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