Free abdominal fluid on ultrasound in unstable pelvic ring fracture: Is laparotomy always necessary?

Steffen Ruchholtz, Christian Waydhas, Ulrike Lewan, Birte Pehle, Georg Taeger, Christian Kühne, Dieter Nast-Kolb, David H. Livingston, H. Gill Cryer, Peter B. Angood, C. William Schwab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: In unstable pelvic ring fractures free abdominal fluid on ultrasound (US) may be caused by retroperitoneal hematoma that passes into the abdominal cavity or by an additional intraabdominal lesion. In this study a clinical pathway for the therapy of potentially combined lesions was analyzed. Patients and Methods:. All patients treated in the ED for severe trauma underwent basic sonographical and radiologic diagnostics within 15 minutes. of admission. Data were prospectively documented. According to the treatment protocol unstable pelvic ring fractures with initial free fluid on US received laparotomy. Patients with stable vital conditions had abdominal CT-Scan before surgery. Results: 1472 consecutive severely injured patients (ISS 20, age: 39 years) were included. Eighty subjects had sustained type B (47) or C (33) pelvic ring fracture. Early free abdominal fluid on US was absent in 49 cases. Three patients in this group required celiotomy later on, during ICU treatment. In 31 patients free fluid was present. All of them had laparotomy. Only one patient showed retroperitoneal hematoma alone, while all others had one or more significant lesions (rupture) that required surgical repair. Simultaneously with laparotomy pelvic stabilization was performed by external (19) or internal (6) fixation. In all cases with massive pelvic hemorrhage and free fluid in US bleeding was controlled by internal tamponade and external fixation. Conclusion: The finding of intraperitoneal fluid on US in the emergency department strongly correlates with significant intraabdominal lesions requiring surgical intervention. Early laparotomy appears indicated in these cases. Shock control in pelvic bleeding can be sufficiently achieved by internal tamponade and external fixation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-286
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Keywords

  • FAST intraabdominal lesions
  • Laparotomy external fixateur
  • Pelvic fracture hemorrhage abdominal sonography

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    Ruchholtz, S., Waydhas, C., Lewan, U., Pehle, B., Taeger, G., Kühne, C., Nast-Kolb, D., Livingston, D. H., Cryer, H. G., Angood, P. B., & Schwab, C. W. (2004). Free abdominal fluid on ultrasound in unstable pelvic ring fracture: Is laparotomy always necessary? Journal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care, 57(2), 278-286. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.TA.0000133840.44265.CA