External fixation of femoral fractures in multiply injured intensive care unit patients.

Published online: Feb 27 2006

Konstantinos J. Kazakos, Dionisios J. Verettas, Konstantinos Tilkeridis, Vasilios G. Galanis,Konstantinos C. Xarchas, Alexandra Dimitrakopoulou

From Democritous University of Thrace Medical School, Alexandroupolis, Greece


We report the results of a prospective study of 42 patients with multiple injuries, including femoral fractures, who required intensive care unit (ICU) admission and whose fractures were treated by means of external fixation. The Injury Severity Score (ISS) ranged from 18 to 41 and the average Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) on admission was 12. Seventeen fractures were open. All patients had their fractures stabilised within 6 hours from admission by means of external fixation. After a follow-up of 11 months (range 4-20), 28 fractures had healed within 6 months (range 4.5-8) and 13 developed non-union which was treated successfully with secondary intramedullary nailing. One patient developed deep infection following secondary nailing and another patient died from adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). We conclude that external fixation of severe femoral fractures in critically ill patients is an easy and quick method of stabilisation which does not compromise their condition. If however it is intended to be used as a final method, these patients require a close follow-up since the rate of delayed and non-union is high.