A survey was made of 268 patients with 285 penetrating wounds of the limbs and neck seen during 1968 to 1973 in whom arterial damage was suspected. The principal problem in the management of these injuries was the decision regarding the need for surgical exploration. Physical signs were often inconclusive, so that in about half the cases angiographic examination was required to assure the avoidance of needless exploration. Angiography was also needed in some cases to locate precisely the site of arterial injury.
The functional results of the surgical treatment of these wounds depended primarily on the outcome of the handling of the local (principally bony and nervous) associated nonvascular injuries.