Blunt Trauma and the Role of Routine Pelvic Radiographs

Duane, Therese M.; Cole Jr., Frederic J.; Weireter Jr., Leonard J.; Britt, L.D.
September 2001
American Surgeon;Sep2001, Vol. 67 Issue 9, p849
Academic Journal
We evaluated clinical factors that are predictive of pelvic X-ray findings. We sought to identify whether routine pelvic films are necessary in blunt trauma and addressed whether removal of these films would minimize cost. We performed a retrospective chart review of 111 patients without pelvic fractures and 108 with pelvic fractures seen at our Level 1 trauma center between August 1998 and September 1999. We evaluated initial hemodynamics, physical examination findings, laboratory data, and hospital charges. Patients with fractures had higher Injury Severity Scores (P < 0.001), a higher number of associated injuries (P < 0.001), and lower blood pressures (P < 0.001). The back and pelvic examinations were significantly associated with X-ray results (P < 0.001), and the potential savings with selective radiography was $168,300.00 per year. We believe that clinical factors identified in our study predict the need for pelvic X-ray. Because removal of these films would minimize cost we recommend the elimination of routine pelvic films for the awake and alert blunt trauma patient.


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