EXAMINATION & EVALUATION of the Pelvis and Sacrum:
Principles of Management:
The Pelvic bowl is a very vascular area.
A fractured pelvis can be a source of severe internal bleeding.
Can only shift a fractured pelvis once.
MOI: The pelvis is injured by direct impact and/or compression.
Level Of Consciousness:
To properly evaluate the pelvis the patient needs to be awake & alert with no other distracting injuries.
Signs and Symptoms:
Typically in severe pain and unable to walk.
They will have guarding, in that they will not be willing to move their legs or try to sit up.
Place your hands on the sides of the pelvis, over the iliac wings, and gently lean on the pelvis pushing it towards the floor or ground and then with you hands in the same position compress the pelvis by pushing your hands towards each other, lateral compression, as if trying to close and open book.
Any motion and/or pain indicates a fractured pelvis.
You can only move a fractured pelvis once, due to the risk of internal bleeding.
The pelvis is lined with a great many of blood vessels, it is very vascular and can therefore be the source of a major internal bleed and hypovolemic shock.
During exam if the pelvis shifts, like closing a book, do not let go, hold the pelvis closed until a pelvic binder can be applied or improvised.
A pelvic binder is a 6″ – 8″ wide piece of fabric that is wrapped around the pelvis and then secured to prevent the pelvis from falling open. This can be improvised from any 6″ – 8″ wide piece of cloth and secure it with cravats or belts to hold the pelvis still and prevent it from falling open.
There are also commercially available pelvic binders.
In the long-term care setting you should also wrap the abdomen with two 6″ wide ACE bandages to shrink the potential space for blood to collect in the abdomen if internal bleeding were to occur.
MAST or Pneumatic Anti Shock Garments also work very well to stabilize a fractured pelvis and control internal bleeding.
Treat for shock:
Keep flat on their back.
IV fluid for shock if indicated.
Monitor vital signs.
This blog is powered by the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter, now celebrating 20 years of publication. The WMN is published and distributed online six times each year by TMC Books, and subscriptions cost as little as $10 per year. To find out more, or to subscribe online, click here.