Early functional outcome in children with pelvic fractures

Jeffrey S. Upperman, Mary Gardner, Barbara Gaines, Laura Schall, Henri R. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background/Purpose: Although the mortality, morbidity, and spectrum of associated injuries in children with pelvic fractures have been extensively studied, little is known about the functional outcomes in these patients. The authors examined retrospectively functional independence measurement (FIM) at discharge in children with pelvic fractures to determine how it should influence their management protocol. Methods: The authors reviewed the records of all patients who sustained pelvic fractures between 1993 and 1998 in the trauma registry of a level I pediatric trauma center. Patients were stratified according to demographics, type of pelvic fracture, functional independence measurement, and discharge disposition. Fractures graded 1, 2, or 3 were defined as stable, whereas grade 4 fractures were deemed unstable. Results: A total of 88 children sustained pelvic fractures. Seventy-four percent had stable fractures, whereas 26% sustained unstable fractures. There was no difference in age or sex between the groups; boys were more commonly injured than girls. Motor vehicle-related crashes accounted for most injuries. The mean injury severity score (ISS) for patients with a stable fracture was 17 ± 14 and 20 ± 13 for unstable fractures. There was no difference in overall hospitalization nor intensive care unit stay between the unstable and stable fracture patients. Eighty percent of the patients with unstable and 52% of the patients with stable pelvic fractures were dependent based on locomotion, and similar proportions were seen for the transfer category. Conclusions: Short-term function appears to be significantly impaired in a high percentage of children with stable and unstable pelvic fractures. Therefore, aggressive rehabilitation should be instituted early in all children with pelvic fractures to achieve optimal functional outcome. Copyright (C) 2000 by W.B. Saunders Company.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1002-1005
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Functional outcomes
  • Pelvic fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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