Background: A common dilemma in the management of pelvic fractures is recognizing the presence of associated abdominal injury. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between initial therapeutic intervention (laparotomy or transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE)) and mortality.
Methods: This was a cohort study using the Japan Trauma Data Bank between 2004 and 2010, including blunt trauma patients with pelvic fractures and positive Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (FAST) results. Eligible patients were restricted to those who underwent laparotomy or TAE/angiography as the initial therapeutic intervention. Crude and adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for in-hospital mortality were compared between the laparotomy first and TAE first groups (reference group). Multiple logistic regression analysis and propensity score adjusted analysis were used to adjust for clinically relevant confounders, including the severity of injury.
Results: Of the 317 participants, 123 patients underwent laparotomy first and 194 patients underwent TAE first. The two groups were similar in terms of age, although the laparotomy first group had higher mean Injury Severity Scores (ISS) and higher mean scores based on the abdominal Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS), as well as lower mean pelvic AIS and systolic blood pressure (SBP). Half of the patients who were hypotensive (SBP < 90 mmHg) on arrival underwent TAE first. The laparotomy first group had a significantly higher crude in-hospital mortality (41% vs. 27%; P < 0.01). After adjusting for confounders, the choice of initial therapeutic intervention did not affect the in-hospital mortality (AOR, 1.20; 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 0.61-2.39). Even in the limited subgroup of hypotensive patients (SBP 66-89 mmHg and SBP < 65 mmHg subgroup), the effect was similar (AOR, 1.50; 95% CI, 0.56-4.05 and AOR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.44-3.03).
Conclusions: In Japan, laparotomy and TAE are equally chosen as the initial therapeutic intervention regardless of hemodynamic status. No significant difference was seen between the laparotomy first and TAE first groups regarding in-hospital mortality.