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Injury. 2009 Jan;40(1):54-60. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2008.08.038. Epub 2008 Nov 30.

Direct retroperitoneal pelvic packing versus pelvic angiography: A comparison of two management protocols for haemodynamically unstable pelvic fractures.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 777 Bannock Street, Denver, CO 80204, USA.



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.


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.


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.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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