Base excess determined within one hour of admission predicts mortality in patients with severe pelvic fractures and severe hemorrhagic shock

  • Rahel Abt
  • Thomas LustenbergerEmail author
  • John F. Stover
  • Emanuel Benninger
  • Philipp M. Lenzlinger
  • Reto Stocker
  • Marius Keel
Focus on Diagnostic and Prognosis of Severely Traumatized Patients



Unstable pelvic ring fractures with exsanguinating hemorrhages are rare but potentially lifethreatening injuries. The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate whether early changes in acid– base parameters predict mortality of patients with severe pelvic trauma and hemorrhagic shock.


Data for 50 patients with pelvic ring disruption and severe hemorrhage were analyzed retrospectively. In all patients, the pelvic ring was temporarily stabilized by C-clamp. Patients with ongoing bleeding underwent laparotomy with extra and/or intraperitoneal pelvic packing, as required. Base excess, lactate, and pH were measured upon admission and at 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 12 h postadmission. Patients were categorized as early survivors (surviving the first 12 h after admission) and nonsurvivors. Statistical analysis was performed by Mann-Whitney test; significance was assumed at p < 0.05. Receiver operating characteristic curves were generated for early mortality from each acid–base variable.


Sixteen patients (32%) were nonsurvivors due to hemorrhagic shock (n = 13) or severe traumatic brain injury (n = 3). Thirty-four patients were early survivors. Base excess, lactate, and pH significantly discriminated between early survivors and nonsurvivors. Base excess determined 1 h after admission discriminated most strongly, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.915 (95% confidence interval, 0.836–0.993; p < 0.001).


Base excess, lactate, and pH discriminate early survivors from nonsurvivors suffering from severe pelvic trauma and hemorrhagic shock. Base excess measured 1 h after admission best predicted early mortality following pelvic trauma with concomitant hemorrhage.

Key Words

Hemorrhage Base excess Lactate pH Mortality 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rahel Abt
    • 1
  • Thomas Lustenberger
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • John F. Stover
    • 2
  • Emanuel Benninger
    • 1
  • Philipp M. Lenzlinger
    • 1
  • Reto Stocker
    • 2
  • Marius Keel
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Clinical ResearchUniversity Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Surgical Intensive Care MedicineUniversity Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Center for Clinical ResearchUniversity Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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