Selective versus nonselective embolization versus no embolization in pelvic trauma: A multicenter retrospective cohort study

Aimee Hymel, Sabrina Asturias, Frank Zhao, Ryan Bliss, Thea Moran, Richard H. Marshall, Elizabeth Benjamin, Herb A. Phelan, Peter C. Krause, Geoffrey S. Marecek, Claudia Leonardi, Lance Stuke, John P. Hunt, Jennifer L. Mooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND Traumatic hemorrhage from pelvic fractures is a significant challenge, and angioembolization has become standard. Optimal treatment is undefined in two clinical scenarios. The first is in the presence of a negative angiogram. Can arterial embolization treat venous bleeding by decreasing the arterial pressure head? If the angiogram is positive, is nonselective embolization (NSE) or selective embolization (SE) better? The purpose of this study is to determine if embolization after a negative angiogram aids in hemorrhage control and when the angiogram is positive, which level of embolization is superior? METHODS A multicenter retrospective review was conducted including blunt trauma patients with pelvic fractures who underwent angiography. Demographic and clinical data were compiled on all subjects. NSE refers to an intervention at the level of the internal iliac artery and SE is defined as any distal intervention. Theoretical complications of pelvic embolization are those thought to arise from decreased pelvic blood flow and will be referred to as embolization-related complications. Thromboembolic complications included deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. RESULTS One hundred ninety-four patients met inclusion criteria. Of the 67 patients with a negative angiogram, 26 (38.8%) were embolized. In those patients requiring transfusion, the units given in the first 24 hours were decreased in the embolization group (7.5 vs. 4.0, p = 0.054). Embolization-related complications occurred more frequently in those not embolized (11.4% vs. 6.0%, p = 0.414). One hundred forty-five patients were embolized, 99 (68.3%) NSE and 46 (31.7%) SE. There were no significant differences in mortality or transfusion requirements. There was no difference in the rate of embolization-related complications (4.1% vs. 2.1%, p = 0.352). There was a significantly increased rate of thromboembolic complications in the NSE group (12.1% vs. 0, p = 0.010). CONCLUSION Embolization in the face of a negative angiogram may aid in hemorrhage control for those patients being actively transfused. If embolized, then selective occlusion of more distal vessels rather than of the main internal iliac artery should be performed. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Therapeutic, level IV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Pelvic fracture
  • nonselective embolization
  • pelvic angioembolization
  • pelvic angiography
  • selective embolization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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