Angioembolization in Severe Pelvic Trauma is Associated with Venous Thromboembolism

Published:November 25, 2022DOI:



      Management of hemorrhage from pelvic fractures is complex and requires multidisciplinary attention. Pelvic angioembolization (AE) has become a key intervention to aid in obtaining definitive hemorrhage control. We hypothesized that pelvic AE would be associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE).


      All adults (age >16) with a severe pelvic fracture (Abbreviated Injury Scale ≥ 4) secondary to a blunt traumatic mechanism in the 2017-2019 American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program database were included. Patients who did not receive VTE prophylaxis during their admission were excluded. Patients who underwent pelvic AE during the first 24 h of admission were compared to those who did not using propensity score matching. Matching was performed based on patient demographics, admission physiology, comorbidities, injury severity, associated injuries, other hemorrhage control procedures, and VTE prophylaxis type, and time to initiation of VTE prophylaxis. The rates of VTE (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) were compared between the matched groups.


      Of 72,985 patients with a severe blunt pelvic fracture, 1887 (2.6%) underwent pelvic AE during the first 24 h of admission versus 71,098 (97.4%) who did not. Pelvic AE patients had a higher median Injury Severity Score and more often required other hemorrhage control procedures, with laparotomy being most common (24.7%). The median time to initiation of VTE prophylaxis in pelvic AE versus no pelvic AE patients was 60.1 h (interquartile range = 36.6-98.6) versus 27.7 h (interquartile range = 13.9-52.4), respectively. After propensity score matching, pelvic AE patients were more likely to develop VTE compared to no pelvic AE patients (11.8% versus 9.5%, P = 0.03).


      Pelvic AE for control of hemorrhage from severe pelvic fractures is associated with an increased risk of in-hospital VTE. Patients who undergo pelvic AE are especially high risk for VTE and should be started as early as safely possible on VTE prophylaxis.


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