Cardiopulmonary Response to Reamed Intramedullary Nailing of the Femur Comparing Traditional Reaming With a One-Step Reamer-Irrigator-Aspirator Reaming System: An Experimental Study in Pigs

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Background:Intramedullary reaming and nailing increases intramedullary pressure. This may cause intravasation of bone marrow contents, leading to bone marrow embolization and altered cardiopulmonary function. Possible beneficial effects of attenuation of the intramedullary pressure increase by the use of a reamer-irrigator-aspirator (RIA) system were studied with the hypothesis that the RIA technique would cause lower numbers of pulmonary embolisms (PEs) and lesser cardiopulmonary affection than traditional reaming (TR).Material and Methods:Intramedullary reaming and nailing was performed in intact femora of young Norwegian landrace pigs using either a standard intramedullary nailing technique (n = 8) or a RIA technique (n = 7). The hemodynamic and pulmonary effects were investigated during the reaming and nailing procedure and for 2 hours postoperatively. The animals were killed after 72 hours, and the lung/carcass weight ratio and the numbers of PEs were investigated.Results and Conclusion:The pattern of the procedure-related hemodynamic and pulmonary effects did not differ significantly between the RIA and the TR groups. The RIA group had lower numbers (ns) of embolisms per square centimeter lung area than the TR group. After reaming with the TR device, two animals died of PEs, the first postoperative day. The patients with femoral shaft fracture and additional cardiopulmonary injury or preexisting reduced cardiopulmonary function, however, need special attention, and the use of RIA may, in these cases, represent a better operative alternative with a lesser operative burden.

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