Introduction: The role of pelvic circumferential compression devices (PCCDs) is to temporarily stabilise a pelvic fracture, reduce the volume and tamponade the bleeding. Tissue damage may occur when PCCDs are left in place longer than a few hours. The aim of this randomised clinical trial was to quantify the pressure at the region of the greater trochanters (GTs) and the sacrum, induced by PCCDs in healthy volunteers.
Materials and methods: In a crossover study, the Pelvic Binder(®), SAM-Sling(®) and T-POD(®) were applied successively onto 80 healthy participants in random order. The pressure was measured using a pressure mapping system, with the volunteers in supine position on a spine board and on a hospital bed. Data were analysed using Mixed Linear Modelling.
Results: On a spine board, the pressure exceeded the tissue damaging threshold at the GTs and the sacrum. Pressure at the GTs was highest with the Pelvic Binder(®), and lowest with the SAM-Sling(®). Pressure at the sacrum was highest with the Pelvic Binder(®). The pressure at the GTs and sacrum was reduced significantly for all three PCCDs upon transfer to a hospital bed.
Conclusion: The results of this randomised clinical trial in healthy volunteers showed that patients with pelvic fractures, temporarily stabilised with a PCCD, are at risk for developing pressure sores. The pressure on the skin exceeded the tissue damaging threshold and is, besides PCCD type, influenced by BMI, waist size and age. Regardless with which PCCD trauma patients are stabilised, early transfer from the spine board is of key importance to reduce the pressure to a level below the tissue damaging threshold. Clinicians should be aware of the potential deleterious effects associated with the application of a PCCD, and every effort must be made to remove the PCCD once haemodynamic resuscitation has been established.
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