Radiographic and Clinical Predictors of Therapeutic Pelvic Angiography

Am Surg. 2022 Jul;88(7):1432-1436. doi: 10.1177/00031348221080429. Epub 2022 Apr 11.


Background: Pelvic fractures are often complicated by hemorrhage contributing to morbidity and mortality. Management of these patients is multifaceted and computed tomography (CT) imaging plays an integral diagnostic role. The purpose of this study was to identify radiographic and clinical predictors of therapeutic angiography in patients with blunt pelvic fractures.

Methods: All patients with blunt pelvic fractures who underwent angiography following admission CT scan were identified over a 6-year period. A radiologist reviewed the CT scans to identify potential predictors of pelvic hemorrhage. Patients were stratified by intervention [therapeutic angiography (TA) vs non-therapeutic angiography (NTA)] and compared. Multivariable logistic regression (MLR) was performed to determine independent predictors of TA. Youden's index was used to identify the optimal value of selected predictors identified on MLR.

Results: 177 patients were identified: 42% underwent TA and 58% underwent NTA. Patients undergoing TA were more likely to have a higher injury burden and greater resuscitative transfusion requirements, display both a brighter blush density on arterial phase CT and a larger % change in arterial to venous phase blush density. The optimal arterial blush density was determined to be 250 HU. MLR identified pre-angiography transfusion requirements (OR 1.175; 95% CI 1.054-1.311, P = .0189) and arterial blush density (OR 1.011; 95% CI 1.005-1.016, P < .0001) as independent predictors of therapeutic angiography.

Conclusion: CT imaging remains vital in assessing patients with pelvic fractures and associated hemorrhage following blunt trauma. For patients requiring multiple resuscitative transfusions with CT findings of an arterial blush measuring ≥250 HU, early angiography should be the preferred approach.

Keywords: angiography; pelvic fractures; pelvic hemorrhage; therapeutic angiography.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Embolization, Therapeutic* / methods
  • Fractures, Bone* / complications
  • Fractures, Bone* / diagnostic imaging
  • Fractures, Bone* / therapy
  • Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Bones* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pelvic Bones* / injuries
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome