The argon beam coagulator provides rapid hemostasis of experimental hepatic and splenic hemorrhage in anticoagulated dogs

Peter M.N.Y.H. Go, Greg R. Goodman, Erich W. Bruhn, John G. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The argon beam coagulator (ABC) delivers radiofrequency electrical energy to tissue across a jet of argon gas, providing noncontact, monopolar, electrothermal hemostasis. This study compared the efficacy of the ABC with conventional techniques for control of traumatic hepatic and splenic hemorrhage. Standardized lacerations were made to the liver and spleen of 6 heparinized dogs. Control of bleeding was attempted with the ABC (150 W), the Nd:YAG laser (90 W, noncontact), horizontal mattress suture, microcrystalline collagen, and regenerated cellulose. If bleeding had not been controlled within 3 minutes, coagulation was attempted with the ABC in order to prevent exsanguination. Tissue from both the liver and spleen was assessed histologically for damage induced by the ABC. Delayed injury and early healing after ABC coagulation was studied in six additional dogs killed 1 and 3 weeks postoperatively. The ABC stopped bleeding from 25/25 hepatic lacerations in 48 ± 8 seconds (mean ± SEM) and from 18/18 splenic lacerations in 28 ± 3 seconds. The Nd:YAG laser, mattress sutures, and topical hemostatic agents failed to control bleeding in 14 of 15 applications after 3 minutes. The ABC successfully salvaged all failures in less than 1 minute. The depth of splenic and hepatic thermal injury with the ABC ranged from 2 to 7 mm and was proportional to the duration of application. Postoperatively wound healing progressed normally without bleeding or infection at the coagulation site. The ABC appears to be a excellent instrument for achieving hemostasis in solid organ injury, and may be especially valuable in managing patients with coagulation deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1294-1300
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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