Timing of orthopaedic surgery in multiple trauma patients: development of a protocol for early appropriate care

J Orthop Trauma. 2013 Oct;27(10):543-51. doi: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e31829efda1.


Objectives: The purpose was to define which clinical conditions warrant delay of definitive fixation for pelvis, femur, acetabulum, and spine fractures. A model was developed to predict the complications.

Design: Statistical modeling based on retrospective database.

Setting: Level 1 trauma center.

Patients: A total of 1443 adults with pelvis (n = 291), acetabulum (n = 399), spine (n = 102), and/or proximal or diaphyseal femur (n = 851) fractures.

Intervention: All fractures were treated surgically.

Main outcome measurements: Univariate and multivariate analysis of variance assessed associations of parameters with complications. Logistic predictive models were developed with the incorporation of multiple fixed and random effect covariates. Odds ratios, F tests, and receiver operating characteristic curves were calculated.

Results: Twelve percent had pulmonary complications, with 8.2% overall developing pneumonia. The pH and base excess values were lower (P < 0.0001) and the rate of improvement was also slower (all Ps < 0.007), with pneumonia or any pulmonary complication. Similarly, lactate values were greater with pulmonary complications (all Ps < 0.02), and lactate was the most specific predictor of complications. Chest injury was the strongest independent predictor of pulmonary complication. Initial lactate was a stronger predictor of pneumonia (P = 0.0006) than initial pH (P = 0.047) or the rate of improvement of pH over the first 8 hours (P = 0.0007). An uncomplicated course was associated with the absence of chest injury (P < 0.0001) and definitive fixation within 24 (P = 0.007) or 48 hours (P = 0.005). Models were developed to predict probability of complications with various injury combinations using specific laboratory parameters measuring residual acidosis.

Conclusions: Acidosis on presentation is associated with complications. Correction of pH within 8 hours to >7.25 was associated with fewer pulmonary complications. Presence and severity of chest injury, number of fractures, and timing of fixation are other significant variables to include in a predictive model and algorithm development for Early Appropriate Care. The goal is to minimize complications by definitive management of major skeletal injury once the patient has been adequately resuscitated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / prevention & control*
  • Blood Loss, Surgical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / statistics & numerical data
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Multiple Trauma / surgery*
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention / methods*
  • Secondary Prevention / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult