Introduction

On average, 170,000 people in the United States are injured per day, 400 of whom die as a result of these injuries. Accidental injury is the greatest cause of death in people aged 1-44.1 Extremity injuries are found in 40-60% of all traumatic brain injured patients.2 Having an organized, multidisciplinary approach to polytraumatized patients greatly decreases the associated mortality.3

Treatment of the multiply injured patient is a challenge and requires a multidisciplinary approach with adequate resources and effective resuscitative measures. Success in treating these patients begins at the accident scene with identification of injuries, temporary stabilization, and judicious transportation to trauma centers. In the hospital setting, assessment, resuscitation, and definitive treatment followed by rehabilitation and return to function must be performed in an organized, systematic fashion.

In the last 30 years there has been extensive literature supporting early stabilization and fixation of pelvic and long bone fractures in the polytraumatized patient. This body of literature reports benefits of early stabilization such as decreasing morbidity and mortality, decreasing the incidence of pneumonia and ARDS, increasing mobilization, and decreasing the number of ICU, as well as, overall hospital days.1

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