Pediatric abdominal and pelvic trauma: safety and efficacy of arterial embolization

J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2014 Feb;25(2):215-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2013.09.014. Epub 2013 Nov 16.


Purpose: Although transcatheter embolization is a well established technique to treat adults in the trauma setting, evidence is lacking in the pediatric population. This study assesses the safety and efficacy of arterial embolization for blunt abdominal and pelvic trauma in the pediatric population.

Materials and methods: A retrospective review of abdominal and pelvic angiograms in 97 pediatric patients with blunt trauma was conducted over an 11-year period. Abdominal angiography and embolization was performed for ongoing hepatic, renal, splenic, or nonvisceral retroperitoneal injury. Pelvic angiography was performed in the setting of pelvic fracture with ongoing pelvic hemorrhage. Complications and clinical success rates of these procedures were assessed.

Results: Of the 97 pediatric patients who underwent angiography for acute abdominal or pelvic trauma, 54 (56%) required embolization involving 62 separate sites. Injury severity score greater than 15 was present in 94% of patients. Targets of embolization included the pelvis (n = 39), liver (n = 8), kidney (n = 7), spleen (n = 6), and retroperitoneum (n = 2). Effective hemorrhage control was achieved in 47 patients (87%). Overall mortality rate was 22% (12 of 54), with most deaths related to traumatic brain injury. Five complications occurred in four patients (7%), including three major complications (hepatic abscess, bile leak, and urinary incontinence).

Conclusions: Angiography and embolization is relatively safe and potentially effective in the setting of abdominal and pelvic trauma in the pediatric population. Angiography with embolization should be considered in the treatment algorithm for this patient population.

Keywords: CI; ISS; PRBC; confidence interval; injury severity score; packed red blood cell.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / diagnosis
  • Abdominal Injuries / mortality
  • Abdominal Injuries / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / mortality
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / diagnosis
  • Hemorrhage / mortality
  • Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Pelvis / blood supply*
  • Pelvis / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Transfusion Reaction
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular System Injuries / diagnosis
  • Vascular System Injuries / mortality
  • Vascular System Injuries / therapy*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / mortality
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy*