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Winkelmann, M.; Izquierdo, M. Lopez; Clausen, J-D; Liodakis, E.; Mommsen, P.; Blossey, R.; Krettek, C. and Zeckey, C. (2018): Fractures of the transverse processes of the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae in patients with pelvic ring injuries INDICATOR OF BIOMECHANICAL INSTABILITY BUT NOT SHOCK. In: Bone & Joint Journal, Vol. 100B, No. 9: pp. 1214-1219

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Abstract

Aims This study aimed to analyze the correlation between transverse process (TP) fractures of the fourth (L4) and fifth (L5) lumbar vertebrae and biomechanical and haemodynamic stability in patients with a pelvic ring injury, since previous data are inconsistent. Patients and Methods The study is a retrospective matched-pair analysis of patients with a pelvic fracture according to the modified Tile AO Muller and the Young and Burgess classification who presented to a level 1 trauma centre between January 2005 and December 2014. Results A total of 728 patients with pelvic ring injuries were included, of whom 183 (25.1%) had a biomechanically unstable pelvic fracture. Of these patients, 84 (45.9%) had a fracture of a TP of L4 and/or L5. A total of 73 patients (13.4%) with a stable pelvic ring injury (p < 0.001) had a fracture of a TP. Patients with a fracture of a TP of L4 and/or L5 had a 5.5-fold risk (odds ratio (OR)) of having a biomechanically unstable pelvic injury. TP fractures (OR 1.6, p = 0.2) could not be confirmed as an independent predictor of haemodynamic instability. Conclusion This is the first study that has demonstrated a positive correlation between a TP fracture of L4 and/or L5 and a biomechanically unstable pelvic ring injury. The presence of transverse process fractures of L4 and/or L5 indicates increased severity of pelvic injury and therefore can help in the planning of emergency treatment.

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