II. Pathophysiology

  1. Pelvic Fractures are associated with significant bleeding
    1. Venous plexus that overlies the posterior arch of the Pelvis are at risk for tearing
    2. Fractured Pelvic Bones may also bleed significantly
    3. Pelvic Fracture bleeding is retroperitoneal and may be occult by external exam

III. Types: Unstable Pelvic Fracture Patterns (associated with other injuries)

  1. Lateral Compression Pelvic Fracture
    1. Mechanism: Motor Vehicle Accident
    2. Pubic Ramus Fracture is most common manifestation
    3. Bladder injury or Urethral disruption are most common associated injuries
  2. Anterior Compression Pelvic Fracture (Open Book Fracture)
    1. Mechanism: Pedestrian struck by Motor Vehicle Accident
    2. Symphysis PubisFracture (anterior compression) with displacement is most common manifestation
    3. Associated injuries
      1. Thoracic aorta rupture
      2. Sacroiliac joint opening and venous plexus disruption
      3. Marker for significant multisystem Trauma (due to force) such as Closed Head Injury
  3. Vertical Shear Pelvic Fracture
    1. Mechanism: High force injury
    2. Unstable Pelvis
    3. Vertical displacement may be apparent on exam of the Symphysis Pubis
    4. Associated with significant gastrointestinal and genitourinary injuries

IV. Types: Stable Pelvic Fractures

  1. Stable Fractures external to pelvic ring
    1. Avulsion Fractures
    2. Single pubic ramus Fracture
    3. Single ischial ramus Fracture
    4. Iliac wing Fracture
    5. Isolated sacral Fracture
    6. Coccyx Fracture
  2. Stable Fractures within the pelvic ring
    1. Two ipsilateral pubic or ischial ramus Fractures
    2. Sacroiliac joint subluxation
    3. Symphysis Pubis Subluxation
      1. Displacement >2.5 cm is unstable

V. Precautions

  1. All Pelvic Fractures (and Femur Fractures) risk signficant Hemorrhage (even those that are minimally displaced)
    1. Most significant bleeding is associated with Fractures that disrupt the posterior Pelvis
  2. All Pelvic Fractures are a risk for urologic, gastrointestinal and retroperitoneal injuries
  3. Pelvic Fracture may give a false positive Diagnostic Peritoneal Lavage (rarely done in U.S.)

VI. Exam

  1. Compress the Pelvis by pushing both iliac crests together with force
    1. Assess for anterior or posterior Pelvis injury
    2. If the Pelvis moves inward on compression, hold this position and apply a Pelvic Binder for stabilization
    3. Do not repeat this exam in an unstable Pelvis (keep bound)
  2. Perform a careful distal CMS exam
    1. Distal extremity circulation (pulses, Capillary Refill)
    2. Distal Motor Exam
    3. Distal Sensory Exam
  3. Other examination
    1. Vaginal and pelvic exam in all women with Pelvic Fracture

VII. Imaging

  1. FAST Exam (for Hemorrhage)
    1. Indicated in all unstable patients with suspected Pelvic Fractures
    2. High False Negative Rate for Hemoperitoneum (e.g. may miss retroperitoneal hematoma)
  2. CT Abdomen and Pelvis
    1. Defines Pelvic Fracture
    2. Defines associated genitourinary and intestinal injuries
  3. Other imaging and diagnostic modalities
    1. Pelvis XRay
      1. Poorly predicts bleeding extent (based on Fracture appearance or type)
      2. Obtain if performing other bedside XRays if there is a delay for CT Pelvis
      3. May be sufficient in stable Trauma patients with benign Abdomen and Pelvis
    2. Diagnostic Peritoneal Lavage
      1. Completely replaced by CT Abdomen and Pelvis in the United States

VIII. Evaluation

  1. Stable: CT Abdomen and Pelvis
    1. Injury or peritonitis in addition to Pelvic Fracture requiring laparotomy
      1. Laparotomy for other indication and visualize Pelvic Fracture region at same time
    2. Isolated Pelvic Fracture
      1. Evaluation by Trauma surgery
      2. Intervention Radiology (angiography) for concerning findings (e.g. soft tissue blush or hematoma near Fracture site)
  2. Unstable: FAST Exam
    1. FAST Positive for Hemorrhage
      1. Emergent Laparotomy to identify and manage bleeding source
      2. Source may be from concurrent Liver Laceration, Ruptured Spleen or Mesenteric Artery bleeding
    2. FAST Negative for Hemorrhage
      1. Blood Transfusion (see below)
      2. Consider Intervention Radiology to identify bleeding source (and consider internal iliac embolization)
      3. Consider Laparotomy for persistent instability if above measures are unsuccessful
      4. Consider Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA)
        1. See management below

IX. Management

  1. Pelvic Binder (e.g. T-POD or bed sheet)
    1. See Pelvic Binder
    2. Provides pain relief and Fracture stabilization (similar to external fixation)
    3. Does not reduce Hemorrhage significantly (although may reduce Blood Transfusion requirements)
    4. Does not affect arterial bleeding
  2. Manage Hemorrhagic Shock
    1. Start replacing Blood Products early
    2. Replace Red Blood Cells (as well as Platelets and Fresh Frozen Plasma 1 unit/unit pRBC)
  3. Emergent surgical Consultation
    1. Trauma surgery, orthopedics, general surgery or urology depending on extent of injuries
      1. Determine management (laparotomy, Intervention Radiology or observation)
    2. Surgical management options (both followed by angiography by Intervention Radiology)
      1. Laparotomy with direct packing and possibly internal iliac artery ligation OR
      2. Preperitoneal packing via short suprapubic space incision
        1. Indicated only if other Hemorrhage sources have been excluded
  4. Angiography by Intervention Radiology indications
    1. See Evaluation above
    2. Indicated for persistent bleeding from Pelvic Fracture
    3. Do not delay emergent surgery in an unstable patient if angiography is not immediately available (e.g. <30 min)
    4. Managed with pelvic embolization (typically internal iliac embolization)
  5. Other possible measures
    1. Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA)
      1. Percutaneous balloon delivered via groin catheter and inflated in aorta above level of Hemorrhage
      2. Indicated in severe Pelvic Fractures without Cardiac Arrest who need immediate temporizing measures
        1. May be considered in Peri-Arrest patient without obvious source of Hemorrhage
        2. Best used for short-term bridging to definitive procedure (risk of distal ischemia)
  6. Ineffective Measures
    1. Bladder Distention with foley (Bladder is too anterior to provide adequate posterior compression)

X. Prognosis: Acute Mortality

  1. Mortality 15-40% for an isolated Pelvic Fracture with secondary bleeding and Hypotension
  2. Mortality 50% for a Pelvic Fracture AND intraabdominal injury
  3. Mortality 90% for a Pelvic Fracture AND intraabdominal injury AND Head Injury

XI. References

  1. Eiff (1998) Fracture Management for Primary Care, p. 174-7
  2. Inaba in Herbert (2013) EM:Rap 13(11): 3-4
  3. Inaba and Herbert in Herbert (2014) EM:Rap 14(4): 10-11
  4. Orman and Hicks in Herbert (2017) EM:Rap 17(2): 8-9

Images: Related links to external sites (from Bing)

Related Studies

Ontology: Fracture of pelvis (C0149531)

Concepts Injury or Poisoning (T037)
ICD9 808
ICD10 S32.9
SnomedCT 157203003, 157200000, 287088008, 77493009
LNC LA17345-2, LA17252-0
Italian Frattura del bacino, Fratture del bacino, Pelvi fratturata NAS
English Pelvic fractures, pelvic fracture (diagnosis), pelvic fracture, Fractured pelvis NOS, Fracture of pelvis, Fracture of pelvis NOS, pelvic fractures, Fracture;pelvis, fracture of pelvis, Fracture of pelvis NOS (disorder), Pelvic fracture(s), Fracture of pelvis (disorder), fracture; pelvic, pelvis; fracture, Fracture of pelvis, NOS, Pelvic fracture, Fracture of Pelvis, fractured pelvis
Dutch gebroken bekken NAO, bekkenbreuk, bekken; fractuur, fractuur; bekken, bekkenbreuken, gebroken bekken
French Fracture du bassin SAI, Fracture du bassin, Fractures du pelvis
German Fraktur des Beckens, Beckenfraktur NNB, Beckenfrakturen, Beckenfraktur
Portuguese Bacia fracturada NE, Fractura da bacia, Bacia fracturada, Fracturas pélvicas
Spanish Fractura pelviana, Pelvis fracturada NEOM, fractura de pelvis, SAI (trastorno), fractura de pelvis, SAI, Fracture of pelvis NOS, fractura de pelvis, fractura de la pelvis, fractura pelviana, fractura de la pelvis (trastorno), fractura de pelvis (trastorno), Fractura de pelvis, Fracturas pélvicas
Japanese 骨盤骨折NOS, 骨盤骨折, コツバンコッセツ, コツバンコッセツNOS
Czech Zlomená pánev NOS, Zlomeniny pánve, Zlomenina pánve
Hungarian Medencetörés k.m.n., Kismedence törések, Medencetörés