Vancouver General Hospital becomes 1st in Western Canada with cutting-edge trauma tool

Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) has a new tool in its toolbox to help patients suffering from traumatic injuries.

VGH is the first hospital in Western Canada to host a REBOA (Resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta), which will be used to help patients suffering from injuries such as gunshot wounds or pelvis fractures.

The tool works by placing a temporary balloon in the patient’s aorta, which, once inflated, blocks blood flow to a traumatic wound — while still allowing blood to travel to the brain and heart.

Once the balloon is in place, emergency room staff have about 45 minutes to stabilize the patient for surgery.

It can only be used for injuries to the lower body.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) said VGH first used REBOA on a critical patient who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen.

He survived.

VGH believes REBOA could help save up to 15 patients a year.

REBOA was initially developed by military trauma surgeons for use on patients with gunshot wounds, and was first introduced to civilian hospitals in the U.S. in 2016, followed soon after by Europe.

According to VCH, major trauma is a leading cause of death for people younger than 45.

More than 700,000 people are injured annually in B.C, 1,800 of whom die and 9,000 of whom suffer permanent disability, according to the health authority.

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