Retroperitoneal Pelvic Packing in the Management of Hemodynamically Unstable Pelvic Fractures: A Level I Trauma Center Experience

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Background:Our objective is to evaluate the mortality and outcomes of hemodynamically unstable patients with pelvic fractures treated with a protocol that directs the patient to either early pelvic angiography or early retroperitoneal pelvic packing.Method:This is a retrospective review of prospectively collected database at a local trauma center. Hemodynamically unstable pelvic fracture patients received treatment according to our hospital protocol during two different time periods. Before June 2008, these patients underwent early angiography (ANGIO group, n = 13), and from June 2008 onward, these patients underwent early pelvic packing and subsequent angiography if there was continued hemorrhage from the pelvis (PACKING group, n = 11). The mechanism of injury, physiologic parameters, blood transfusion requirements, time to intervention, trauma scores, and mortality were recorded.Results:Mean time to intervention in the ANGIO group was longer than that in the PACKING group, although this was not statistically significant (139.5 minutes vs. 78.8 minutes, respectively, p = 0.248). Mortality in the ANGIO group was higher than that in the PACKING group; however, this was also not significant (69.2% vs. 36.3%, p = 0.107). After univariate analysis, factors associated with mortality included systolic blood pressure, Glasgow Coma Score, Injury Severity Score, Revised Trauma Score, Trauma and Injury Severity Score, pH, and base excess. In the PACKING group, one patient died of uncontrolled hemorrhage from a liver laceration. In the ANGIO group, three patients died of uncontrolled hemorrhage from the pelvic fracture.Conclusion:Early experience in our institution suggests that early pelvic packing with subsequent angiography if needed is as good as angiography with embolization in treating patients with hemodynamically unstable pelvic fractures.

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