Thrombosis of external iliac and common femoral arteries secondary to blunt trauma due to handlebar injury

Batool Hussain, Theresa M. Sitto, Usha Sethuraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Vascular injuries are uncommon following a bicycle handlebar injury in children. However, they are associated with an extremely high morbidity including limb loss and asymmetric limb growth. Case presentation: 11 year old previously healthy female who presented to a pediatric emergency department immediately after sustaining blunt trauma to her abdomen by a bicycle handlebar. She complained of pain in her right lower extremity without paresthesia and was noted to have a painful superficial laceration to the right lower abdomen with tenderness on palpation. The extremity was noted to be mottled, cool to touch, with decreased sensations and delayed capillary refill but intact motor function. The peripheral pulses in the extremity were noted to be absent on exam, which was confirmed by a bedside Doppler. A Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) of the abdomen and pelvis revealed an occluding thrombus in the external iliac and right common femoral arteries which required surgical repair. She subsequently developed occlusion secondary to traumatic dissection and compartment syndrome in the same extremity requiring repeat surgical intervention. Conclusion: In managing patients with blunt force trauma to the abdomen from handlebars, clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for vascular injuries even with low-risk mechanism of injury and superficial injuries noted on exam. Their assessment should include immediate examination of bilateral peripheral pulses of the lower extremities to evaluate for clinical findings associated with acute lower limb ischemia as well as bedside Doppler exams and early consideration of CTA to assess for occult vascular injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-293
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Bicycle accident
  • Handlebar injury
  • Pediatric
  • Trauma
  • Vascular injury


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