Injuries to the digital artery can cause serious damage to a finger. Failure to recognize the seriousness of the situation can delay an intervention that might be able to save a finger.


Situations associated with damage to the digital artery:

(1) crush injury and/or comminuted fracture of a finger

(2) penetrating injury of a finger

(3) ring-associated avulsion injuries


The injured finger may be:

(1) dusky or discolored

(2) cold


Damage to the artery may also damage the adjacent nerve.


Doppler ultrasound can be used to determine if there is still perfusion in the finger.


Reasons for a delay in management:

(1) underestimating the severity of a closed injury

(2) assuming that collateral blood flow will preserve the finger

(3) failing to perform ultrasonography

(4) waiting for a consult

(5) other injuries


Failing to adequately manage a damaged digital artery can result in:

(1) gangrene

(2) contractures


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