OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the outcomes of haemodynamically unstable cases of pelvic ring injury treated with a protocol focused on either direct retroperitoneal pelvic packing or early pelvic angiography and embolisation.
METHODS: A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database in an academic level I trauma centre, treating matched haemodynamically unstable cases of pelvic fracture with either pelvic packing (PACK group, n=20) or early pelvic angiography (ANGIO group, n=20). Physiological markers of haemorrhage, time to intervention, transfusion requirements, complications and early mortality were recorded.
RESULTS: The PACK group underwent operative packing at a median of 45min from admission; the median time to angiography in the ANGIO group was 130min. The PACK group, but not the ANGIO group, demonstrated a significant decrease in blood transfusions over the next 24h post intervention. In the ANGIO group, ten people required embolisation and six died, two from acute haemorrhage; in the PACK group, three people required embolisation; four died, none due to uncontrolled haemorrhage.
CONCLUSIONS: Pelvic packing is as effective as pelvic angiography for stabilising haemodynamically unstable casualties with pelvic fractures, decreases need for pelvic embolisation and post-procedure blood transfusions, and may reduce early mortality due to exsanguination from pelvic haemorrhage.
Injury. 2009 Jan;40(1):54-60. Epub 2008 Nov 30.