Limited clinical evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of direct retroperitoneal pelvic packing for hemorrhage control in pelvic fractures due to the difficulty in measuring pressure on the pelvic walls within the pelvic cavity after retroperitoneal pelvic packing. Using a cadaver model, the authors aimed to assess whether retroperitoneal pelvic packing generates pressure that exceeds the venous return and arterial pressure in the pelvis. The pressure on the pelvic wall was measured in 5 fresh Japanese cadavers. Sensors were placed at 4 points on the pelvic wall, and the pressure at each point was measured after the insertion of each of 3 sponges, per the procedure originally described for direct retroperitoneal pelvic packing. In each specimen, the average pressure across all 4 points on the pelvic wall increased with the addition of each sponge, reaching 12.3±4.5 mm Hg when all 3 sponges were inserted. Furthermore, the pressure at the pelvic floor and posterior pelvic brim increased significantly, whereas the pressure at the anterior and middle pelvic brim increased nonsignificantly. The results of this study suggest that retroperitoneal pelvic packing provides pressure on the pelvic wall that exceeds the venous pressure and is thus effective for the control of venous hemorrhage in pelvic fractures. Currently, the recommended procedure combines external fixation for venous bleeding, transcatheter arterial embolization, and pelvic packing; however, the authors' results suggest that pelvic packing alone may be effective for controlling venous hemorrhage in pelvic fracture.
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