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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2002 Mar;84(2):178-82.

The role of angiography in the management of haemorrhage from major fractures of the pelvis.

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Edinburgh Orthopaedic Trauma Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


In a series of 150 consecutive patients with unstable fractures of the pelvis, angiography was performed in 23 (15%) who had uncontrolled hypotension. There were three anteroposterior compression (APC), eight lateral compression (LC) and 12 vertical shear (VS) injuries. Arterial sources of haemorrhage were identified in 18 (78%) patients and embolisation was performed. Angiography was required in 28% of VS injuries. The morphology of the fracture was not a reliable guide to the associated vascular injury. Ten (43%) patients died, of whom six had had angiography as the first therapeutic intervention. Five of these had a fracture which was associated with an increase in pelvic volume (APC or VS) which could have been stabilised by an external fixator. Based on our findings we recommend skeletal stabilisation and, if indicated, laparotomy to deal with sources of intraperitoneal blood loss before pelvic angiography. Embolisation of pelvic arterial bleeding is a worthwhile procedure in patients with hypotension which is unresponsive to these interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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