Pulmonary complications after intramedullary femoral nailing have been attributed to bone marrow fat embolization and a variety of cascade effects. We investigated whether the coagulatory response after intramedullary femoral nailing in merino sheep is altered after severe trauma.Methods
Adult merino sheep were submitted to hemorrhagic shock (2 hours, 50 mm Hg) and unilateral lung contusion. After recovery (day 3 of the study), reamed femoral intramedullary nailing (RFN), unreamed femoral intramedullary nailing (UFN), or plate osteosynthesis of the femur (P) was performed. Pulmonary artery pressure, central venous levels of factor V, protein C, antithrombin III, and fibrinogen, were determined. At 1 and 3 days before and after femur instrumentation, pulmonary capillary permeability was assessed on the basis of the comparative albumin content in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.Results
Group RFN, n = 8; group UFN, n = 7; group P, n = 6. A significant (p < 0.05) postoperative increase in the relative albumin content in terms of the BAL/plasma albumin ratio was measured in group RFN (day 3 preoperatively: 0.38 +/- 0.05 day 3 postoperatively: 0.53 +/- 0.06, p < 0.05 (RFN vs. P), which contrasted with group UFN (day 3 preoperatively: 0.44 +/- 0.09, day 3 postoperatively: 0.46 +/- 0.09, no significant difference). This evidence of increased pulmonary permeability occurred in association with evidence of increased activation of coagulation factors (data presented as percentage of day 3 preoperative baseline values). The data for fibrinogen (15 min postoperatively) is as follows: group RFN, 74 +/- 9% (p < 0.05 vs. P); group UFN, 83 +/- 8% (not significant); group P, 98 +/- 6%. The data for antithrombin III (15 min. postoperatively) is as follows: group RFN, 72 +/- 6% (p < 0.05 vs. P); group UFN, 79 +/- 8% (not significant); group P, 92 +/- 8% (not significant).Conclusion
After severe trauma, an increase of pulmonary permeability after reamed femoral nailing was associated with increased consumption of coagulation factors. After unreamed nailing, a similar trend was apparent, but this was not found to be statistically significant. These data provide support for the theory that after severe trauma, unreamed femoral nailing reduces but does not abolish pulmonary sequelae when compared with reamed femoral nailing.