PROMPT evaluation of the condition of patients who have suffered penetrating or blunt trauma is important in reducing morbidity and mortality. During the past few years, many diagnostic tests have been developed to aid the clinician, and use of the appropriate ones is important in facilitating proper patient management. Angiography has a specific role in some injuries but should be held in reserve in others. Both the type of trauma and the severity of the injury are important in deciding when to use angiography.
Most patients who have had a penetrating injury to the thorax or abdomen with a high- or low-velocity missile will need surgical exploration, and generally there is no need for angiography. Occasionally, when there have been multiple injuries, angiography may be used to decide which injuries should be approached first. For example, a patient had been shot through the right forearm and back at