Background: Early identification of patients with pelvic fractures at risk of severe bleeding requiring intervention is critical. We performed a multi-institutional study to test our hypothesis that pelvic fracture patterns predict the need for a pelvic hemorrhage control intervention.
Methods: This prospective, observational, multicenter study enrolled patients with pelvic fracture due to blunt trauma. Inclusion criteria included shock on admission (systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg or heart rate >120 beats/min and base deficit >5, and the ability to review pelvic imaging). Demographic data, open pelvic fracture, blood transfusion, pelvic hemorrhage control intervention (angioembolization, external fixator, pelvic packing, and/or REBOA [resuscitative balloon occlusion of the aorta]), and mortality were recorded. Pelvic fracture pattern was classified according to Young-Burgess in a blinded fashion. Predictors of pelvic hemorrhage control intervention and mortality were analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression analyses.
Results: A total of 163 patients presenting in shock were enrolled from 11 Level I trauma centers. The most common pelvic fracture pattern was lateral compression I, followed by lateral compression I, and vertical shear. Of the 12 patients with an anterior-posterior compression III fracture, 10 (83%) required a pelvic hemorrhage control intervention. Factors associated with the need for pelvic fracture hemorrhage control intervention on univariate analysis included vertical shear pelvic fracture pattern, increasing age, and transfusion of blood products. Anterior-posterior compression III fracture patterns and open pelvic fracture predicted the need for pelvic hemorrhage control intervention on multivariate analysis. Overall in-hospital mortality for patients admitted in shock with pelvic fracture was 30% and did not differ based on pelvic fracture pattern on multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: Blunt trauma patients admitted in shock with anterior-posterior compression III fracture patterns or patients with open pelvic fracture are at greatest risk of bleeding requiring pelvic hemorrhage control intervention.
Level of evidence: Prognostic/epidemiologic study, level III.