REBOA buys time to save lives

Trauma surgeon Dieter Weber.
Trauma surgeon Dieter Weber.

The State Adult Major Trauma Unit completed the Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA).

RPH trauma surgeon Dieter Weber said the operation was often a last chance for patients with uncontrollable internal bleeding.

‘REBOA is performed in the emergency department on patients who often have no pulse and without this procedure wouldn’t make it from the emergency department to the operating theatre in time,’ he said.

REBOA involves inserting a tube into the artery in the groin and feeding it up into the aorta, which carries blood from the heart.

‘We take an X-ray to ensure the tube is in place and inflate a small balloon to stop blood from flowing out of the heart and leaking out of damaged organs,’ Dr Weber said.

‘By preventing blood loss we buy time to take the patient to surgery and repair their damaged organs.’

REBOA has been used at RPH in place of a resuscitative thoracotomy, a procedure where the chest is cut open to directly access a patient’s aorta and insert a clamp.

‘The REBOA procedure is less invasive, helping reduce impact on the patient and shorten recovery time.’