Death from pelvic fracture: children are different

J Pediatr Surg. 1996 Jan;31(1):82-5. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(96)90324-3.


This study compares outcome from pelvic fractures in children with that of adults. Data for 23,700 children registered in the National Pediatric Trauma Registry (NPTR) were compared with those of 10,720 adults recorded over 5 years in the registry of our level I trauma center. Patients were categorized by open versus closed fracture and by fracture type as defined by a modification of the Key and Conwell system. Outcome was evaluated by mortality rate and incidence of fracture-induced fatal exsanguination. The 722 pelvic fractures recorded in the NPTR represent 3% of the population and is half the frequency represented by the 532 adults evaluated (P < .001). The overall mortality rate was 5% for children and 17% for adults. Two children died of fracture-related exsanguination; there were 18 such deaths among the adults. Pelvic ring disruption was encountered more commonly among adults, and was associated with a significantly higher mortality rate. Patients with initial hemodynamic instability were more likely to die, although children less so than adults. The authors conclude that children do not die of pelvic fracture-associated hemorrhage as often as adults. Massive blood loss in the child occurs most commonly from solid visceral injury rather than from pelvic vascular disruption.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / mortality
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / complications
  • Fractures, Bone / mortality*
  • Fractures, Closed / complications
  • Fractures, Closed / mortality
  • Fractures, Open / complications
  • Fractures, Open / mortality
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Hemorrhage / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Multiple Trauma / epidemiology
  • Pelvic Bones / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies