Background: The use of pelvic x-rays (PXRs) as an early diagnostic adjunct in the evaluation of blunt trauma patients has become widely accepted, and computed tomographic (CT) scanning is now used universally in the assessment of abdominal and pelvic injuries. In this study, we have attempted to identify patients with pelvic fractures who might be at risk for vessel hemorrhage and determine if early angioembolization was required in these patients. Material and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients who presented with pelvic fractures from June 2005 to August 2007. Both PXRs and CT scans were reviewed. Patients who presented with bleeding due to other associated injuries or who did not receive a CT scan were excluded. Patients with either initial hemodynamic instability or contrast extravasation on enhanced CT scan underwent angioembolization. Patient demographics, Injury Severity Score, the amount of blood transfused, and the relationship between the fracture pattern and angioembolization were analyzed. Results: A total of 54 patients were enrolled. A diagnosis of an unstable pelvic fracture on PXR was associated with a higher probability of angioembolization. Seven patients received incompatible diagnoses from the PXR and CT scan; these patients received larger amounts of transfused blood and demonstrated an increased need for angioembolization. Conclusions: Although CT scan is more sensitive in the identification of acetabular or small pelvic fractures, PXR is sufficient for the early evaluation of pelvic fracture stability. Based on the current series, early angioembolization is suggested for patients with an initial diagnosis of an unstable pelvic fracture. In addition, patients receiving large amounts of transfused blood are more likely to require early angioembolization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine