Is routine portable pelvic X-ray in stable multiple trauma patients always justified in a high technology era?

Boris Kessel, Roger Sevi, Igor Jeroukhimov, Alex Kalganov, Tawfik Khashan, Itamar Ashkenazi, Gabriel Bartal, Ariel Halevi, Ricardo Alfici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: According to the Advanced Trauma Life Support, portable pelvis radiography (PXR) is mandatory in multiple trauma patients, and is performed following initial clinical evaluation. The purpose of an early PXR is to identify pelvic fractures that may have haemodynamic consequences. Today, ultrafast multi-detector CT scanners (MDCT) are readily available and widely used in the evaluation of stable trauma patients. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of PXR in stable blunt multiple trauma patients, who required CT scan for full evaluation of the abdomen and pelvis. Methods: A retrospective review of all stable blunt trauma patients, suffering from pelvic fractures was performed from January 2001 until December 2004 at two high volume Trauma Centres. Patients' demographics and Injury Severity Scores (ISS) were abstracted from our trauma registry. Two certified radiologists and two certified orthopaedic surgeons retrospectively evaluated and compared PXR films and CT angiographies (CTA) of the abdomen and pelvis. We recorded each case when the management policy was altered due to the results of imaging and compared the clinical impact of both modalities. Results: One hundred and twenty-nine stable blunt multiple trauma patients with pelvic fractures underwent CTA of the abdomen and pelvis during their initial evaluation. Mean ISS was 16.5. Average Glasgow Coma Scale on arrival was 13.2 (range 3-15). Compared to CTA, sensitivity and specificity of the PXR was 64.4 and 90.0%, respectively. CTA diagnosed 35.6% more pelvic fractures than PXR (p < 0.05). No changes in the therapeutic policy were observed following PXR results. In 19 (14.7%) patients, CTA findings led to pelvic angiography. Conclusions: PXR in stable blunt multiple trauma patients did not change the therapeutic policy in our patients. CTA of the abdomen and pelvis is the imaging modality of choice in blunt multiple trauma, regardless of the findings of PXR. Benefit of routine PXR is questionable in hospitals where MDCT is available. Based on our results, we suggest re-evaluating the current practice of routine mandatory portable pelvis radiography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-563
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal CT-angiography
  • ATLS
  • Blunt abdominal trauma
  • Multiple trauma
  • Portable pelvis
  • Radiography


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