Haemodynamically unstable pelvic fracture patients have a high mortality, and decision-making is crucial. The present article discusses key clinical practice guidelines and options in the early management of these challenging patients.Methods
A multidisciplinary consensus committee developed guidelines following standard scientific methodology, comprehensive Medline searches and level of evidence grading. Clinical practice guidelines and options addressed four key questions: (i) how to determine the source of haemorrhage?; (ii) how to control haemorrhage?; (iii) what is the optimal angiography and embolization technique?; and (iv) what is the optimal pelvic stabilization technique?Results
The consensus best evidence recommends that the source of intra-abdominal haemorrhage should be assessed using diagnostic peritoneal aspiration and/or focused abdominal sonography in trauma within 30 min of patient arrival. Immediate laparotomy and concomitant pelvic stabilization control intra-abdominal haemorrhage and venous pelvic haemorrhage, followed by angiography if pelvic arterial bleeding is also present. If intra-abdominal bleeding is absent, non-invasive pelvic stabilization and transfer to angiography within 45 min of arrival is recommended to control venous and arterial pelvic haemorrhage. Optimal embolization is performed with steel coils or Gelfoam (Pharmacia & Upjohn, Peapack, NJ, USA) suspension. The optimal pelvic stabilization technique for rotationally unstable fractures with haemodynamic instability is non-invasive.Conclusion
The consensus committee successfully developed best evidence recommendations identifying the issues and providing guidelines and options for this challenging condition.