A guide to pelvic radiograph interpretation
Most medical students and junior doctors will have at least one placement in an emergency department as part of their training and will have to deal with patients who have experienced trauma. Pelvic fractures have been shown to occur in up to 20% of those presenting with multiple traumatic injuries.12 The importance of the correct interpretation of pelvic radiographs is often under-appreciated, especially when considering a reported mortality rate of up to 50% associated with open fractures.3 Acquiring basic skills in the interpretation of pelvic radiograph is therefore essential.
Fractures of the pelvis should be suspected in two scenarios: elderly patients with weak osteoporotic bones who present after a fall, and patients who have experienced a high impact trauma, such as from a road traffic incident or fall from a height. Owing to the nature of the trauma, these fractures often coexist with multiple injuries and therefore a complete primary