A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Ligation Versus Repair of Inferior Vena Cava Injuries

Saskya Byerly, Leonardo Tamariz, Eugenia E. Lee, Joshua Parreco, Zsuzsanna Nemeth, Ana Palacio, Kenneth Stahl, Nicholas Namias, Gregory A. Magee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Inferior vena cava (IVC) injuries have a high mortality rate that may be related to the location of injury and type of repair. Previous studies have been either single center series or database studies lacking granular detail. These have reported conflicting results. We aimed to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of published literature evaluating ligation versus repair. Methods: Studies published in English on MEDLINE or EMBASE from 1946 through October 2018 were examined to evaluate mortality among patients treated with ligation versus repair of IVC injuries. Studies were included if they provided mortality associated with ligation versus repair and reported IVC injury by level. Risk of bias was assessed regarding incomplete and selective outcome reporting with Newcastle-Ottawa score of 7 or higher to evaluate study quality. We used a random-effects model with restricted maximum likelihood estimation method in R using the Metafor package to evaluate outcomes. Results: Our systematic review identified 26 studies, of which 14 studies, including 855 patients, met our inclusion criteria for meta-analysis. IVC ligation was associated with higher mortality than IVC repair (OR: 3.12, P < 0.01, I2 = 49%). Ligation of infrarenal IVC injuries was not statistically associated with mortality (OR: 3.13, P = 0.09). Suprarenal injury location compared to infrarenal (OR 3.11, P < 0.01, I2 = 28%) and blunt mechanism compared to penetrating (OR: 1.91, P = 0.02, I2 = 0%) were also associated with higher mortality. Conclusions: In this meta-analysis, ligation of IVC injuries was associated with increased mortality compared to repair, but not specifically for infrarenal IVC injuries. Suprarenal IVC injury, and blunt mechanism was associated with increased mortality compared to infrarenal IVC injury and penetrating mechanism, respectively. Data are limited regarding acute renal injury and venous thromboembolic events after IVC ligation and may warrant multicenter studies. Standardized reporting of IVC injury data has not been well established and is needed in order to enable comparison of outcomes across institutions. In particular, reporting of injury location, severity, and repair type should be standardized. A contemporary prospective, multicenter study is needed in order to definitively compare surgical technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-496
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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