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Ann Surg. 1991 Jun;213(6):532-8; discussion 538-9.

Pelvic fracture from major blunt trauma. Outcome is determined by associated injuries.

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Department of Surgery, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson 39216.


Pelvic hemorrhage has been implicated as the cause of death in 50% of patients who die following pelvic fractures. To establish correlates of morbidity and mortality from pelvic fractures due to blunt trauma, we reviewed 236 patients treated during 4 years. The average age of the 144 men and 92 women was 31.5 years, the average Injury Severity Score was 21.3, the average blood requirement was 5 units, and the average hospital stay was 16.8 days. One hundred fifty-two patients (64.4%) were injured in motor vehicle accidents, 33 (14%) had motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents, 16 (6.8%) had crush injuries, 12 (5.1%) each had either motorcycle accidents or falls, and 11 (4.6%) had miscellaneous accidents. Eighteen patients (7.6%) died, with seven (38.9%) deaths due to hemorrhage. Only one death was caused by pelvic hemorrhage. Other deaths were due to hemorrhage from other sites (6), head injury (5), sepsis or multiple-organ failure (4), pulmonary injury (1), and pulmonary embolus (1). None of the septic deaths was related to a pelvic hematoma. Multivariate multiple regression analysis showed that the severity of injury was correlated with indices of severity of pelvic fractures such as fracture site (p less than 0.0001), fracture displacement (p less than 0.005), pelvic stability (p less than 0.0001), and vector of injury (p less than 0.01). However death could not be predicted on the basis of these indices of severity (p greater than 0.28). Of the nine patients who underwent pelvic arteriography, three required embolization of actively bleeding pelvic vessels, but seven had intra-abdominal hemorrhage that required laparotomy, and eight developed a coagulopathy. Massive bleeding from pelvic fractures was uncommon, and the major threat of hemorrhage was from nonpelvic sites. Furthermore, although injury severity was correlated with the severity of the pelvic fracture, hospital outcome was determined by associated injuries and not by the pelvic fracture.

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