Timing of fixation of major fractures in blunt polytrauma: role of conventional indicators in clinical decision making

J Orthop Trauma. 2005 Sep;19(8):551-62. doi: 10.1097/01.bot.0000161712.87129.80.


Grading of the clinical status in patients with multiple trauma is important regarding the treatment plan. In recent years, 4 different clinical conditions have been described: stable, borderline, unstable, in extremis. Clinical parameters have been widely used in patients with penetrating injuries, and 3 categories were found to be important: shock, hypothermia, coagulopathy. However, in blunt trauma patients, the role of conventional parameters for decision making regarding the timing of fracture treatment is poorly described. After blunt trauma, additional factors seem to play a role, because the injuries affect multiple body regions. These additional factors are summarized under the term, "soft-tissue injuries," which may include the soft tissues of the extremities, lung, abdomen, and pelvis. The study describes four pathophysiologic cascades that are relevant to the clinical conditions listed above. Threshold values for separation of the patient conditions are documented, leading to a staged surgical strategy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation* / complications
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation* / diagnosis
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation* / physiopathology
  • Fracture Fixation*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Trauma* / classification
  • Multiple Trauma* / complications
  • Multiple Trauma* / physiopathology
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic* / classification
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic* / complications
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic* / physiopathology
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / complications*
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / classification
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / complications
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating* / physiopathology