Stab wounds to the neck

An algorithm for the management of patients with stab wounds to the neck has been proposed by authors of a review of the topic.
‘Hard’ signs of vascular injury include severe active bleeding, unresponsive shock, evolving stroke, and large/expanding haematoma. ‘Soft’ signs include a non-expanding moderate haematoma, a bruit/thrill, or a radial pulse deficit (although some consider the latter two to be hard signs). Mentioned in the text, but omitted from the algorithm, is the option of placing a Foley catheter into the wound and inflating the balloon to blindly control bleeding in a crashing haemodynamically unstable patient in order to buy time to get to the operating room.

Review article: Emergency department assessment and management of stab wounds to the neck.
Emerg Med Australas. 2010 Jun;22(3):201-10