Patients with pelvic fractures due to falls: A paradigm that contributed to autopsy-based audit of trauma in Greece

Papadopoulos, Iordanis N.; Kanakaris, Nikolaos K.; Bonovas, Stefanos; Konstantoudakis, George; Petropoulou, Konstantina; Christodoulou, Spyridon; Kotsilianou, Olympia; Leukidis, Christos
January 2011
Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes;2011, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Evaluation of the pelvic fractures (PFx) population in auditing effective components of trauma care is the subject of this study. Methods: A retrospective, case-control, autopsy-based study compared a population with PFx to a control-group using a template with trauma outcome variables, which included demographics, ICD-9, intention, mechanisms, toxicology, Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS-90), Injury Severity Score (ISS), causes of haemorrhage, comorbidity, survival time, pre-hospital response, in hospital data, location of death, and preventable deaths. Results: Of 970 consecutive patients with fatal falls, 209 (21.5%) had PFx and constituted the PFx-group while 761 (78.5%) formed the control-group. Multivariate analysis showed that gender, age, intention, and height of fall were risk factors for PFx. A 300% higher odds of a psychiatric history was found in the PFx-group compared to the control-group (p < 0.001). The median ISS was 50 (17-75) for the PFx-group and 26 (1-75) for the control-group (p < 0.0001). There were no patients with an ISS less than 16 in the PFx group. Associated injuries were significantly more common in the PFx-group than in the control-group. Potentially preventable deaths (ISS < 75) constituted 78% (n = 163) of the PFx-group. The most common AIS3-5 injuries in the potentially preventable subset of patients were the lower extremities in 133 (81.6%), thorax in 130 (79.7%), abdomen/pelvic contents in 99 (60.7%), head in 95 (58.3%) and the spine in 26 (15.9%) patients. A subset of 126 (60.3%) potentially preventable deaths in the PFx-group had at least one AIS-90 code other than the PFx, denoting major haemorrhage. Deaths directly attributed to PFx were limited to 6 (2.9%). The median survival time was 30 minutes for the PFx-group and 20 hours for the control-group (p < 0.001). For a one-group increment in the ISS-groups, the survival rates over the post-traumatic time intervals were reduced by 57% (p < 0.0001). Pre-hospital mortality was significantly higher in the PFx-group i.e. 70.3% of the PFx-group versus 42.7% of the control-group (p < 0.001). Conclusions: The PFx-group shared common causative risk factors, high severity and multiplicity of injuries that define the PFx-group as a paradigm of injury for audit. This reduced sample of autopsies substantially contributed to the audit of functional, infrastructural, management and prevention issues requiring transformation to reduce mortality.


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