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Lacerated Femoral Artery Overview

written by: Victoria Trix•edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 11/27/2009

A lacerated femoral artery can be deadly if not treated within minutes. Getting immediate medical assistance and first aid are required for the possibility of recovery.

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    Significance

    The femoral artery is located in the inner thigh of both legs, and is a continuation of the iliac artery, where it then enters into the femoral triangle. The significance of the femoral artery is that it is the easiest to access compared to all other major arteries in the body for medical procedures. This artery is used most often for heart catheters, as well as stent implants. Other medical uses for this artery include access to the vascular areas of the brain and stroke procedures.

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    Uses for the Femoral Artery

    There are many complications associated with a lacerated femoral artery. This would include exsanguination or bleeding to death, as this is the second largest artery in the body, and gives the blood the easiest outlet to the outside of the circulatory system. In order to actually become lacerated, femoral artery damage would have to come through the three layers of the skin and beneath the fatty tissues to a small area just above the thigh muscles. To find this artery on yourself, place the index fingertip on the inner section of the knee cap, and extend the thumb as far towards the body as possible. The area the thumb sits upon is the easiest access to the femoral artery. The laceration of the femoral artery can take place through surgical procedures, where stitching to repair the laceration would be required. Causes for a laceration in this area would include surgery, car accidents involving front end collisions and even brutal attacks.

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    Lacerated Femoral Artery First Aid

    When dealing with a lacerated femoral artery and providing first aid, the most important step to take is to place pressure on the artery just above where the bleeding takes place. A large amount of pressure will be needed to slow the bleeding until medical assistance arrives; therefore using a strip of cloth, towel or rag is the best bet. Place this about 2 inches above the laceration or bleeding site, and press down firmly with both hands. This will slow the bleeding to a minimum, and should be done until help arrives. If you are only able to use one hand, take a large towel and fold it lengthwise. Lay the leg over the towel and then tie the towel directly over the laceration, then place direct and firm pressure 2 inches above the towel on the inner thigh. This will help to keep bleeding down as well. Death can occur within one minute of the time the laceration takes place, so it is imperative that medical help be sought as soon as possible.

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    Resource

    Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Laceration of the superficial femoral artery by an intertrochanteric fracture fragment.