Background: Care of trauma patients with severe bleeding has advanced in recent years with a focus on damage control resuscitation which includes permissive hypotension, hemostatic resuscitation (blood component resuscitation), and hemorrhage control. Minimizing crystalloids in favor of blood component-based resuscitation in the prehospital setting has the potential to reduce downstream complications by intervening closer to the time of injury before the development of coagulopathy, irreversible shock, and inflammatory response. There is a paucity of high level evidence showing the efficacy and safety of plasma transfusions in the prehospital setting including retrospective studies which suffered from survivor bias (patients had to survive long enough to receive plasma) and small randomized clinical trials not showing survival benefit. This has led to the publication of two randomized controlled trials: COMBAT and PAMPer. Read more →
Tag Archive for: Trauma
Background: Alcohol and drug intoxication is common in trauma patients and a significant proportion of cervical spine (c-spine) injuries occur in patients with intoxication. A standard approach to both intoxicated and sober patients with suspected c-spine injury in many trauma centers includes the placement of a rigid cervical collar for spinal immobilization until the c-spine can be “cleared.” Even after a negative CT, intoxicated patients often are immobilized for prolonged periods of time until a reliable exam can be performed due to concern for missed findings on CT scan, specifically unstable ligamentous injuries. This practice is less than ideal, as prolonged c-spine immobilization is associated with DVT, atelectasis, aspiration pneumonia, and elevated intracranial pressures. In 2015, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST) demonstrated that CT imaging of obtunded patients due to any cause would miss approximately 9% of cervical spine injuries, most of which are clinically insignificant. They additionally found no benefit to prolonged immobilization. Read more →
Background: Etomidate and ketamine are both routinely used as induction agents during rapid sequence intubation (RSI) in trauma patients. It is well established that etomidate transiently suppresses the adrenal gland through inhibition of the 11-beta hydroxylase enzyme. Though adrenal suppression in theory can cause deleterious outcomes, there is no high-quality evidence demonstrating a change in patient centered outcomes with it’s use in comparison to alternate agents. Ketamine has long been an alternative induction agent to etomidate but historical concerns, though disproven in more recent literature, limited it’s use due to concerns over increasing intracranial pressure. Read more →
Background: Currently the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) guidelines recommend initial treatment of decompression of a tension pneumothorax, as needle thoracostomy (NT) using a 5cm angiocatheter at the 2nd intercostal space (ICS2) in the mid clavicular line (MCL). With the growth of size in our population worldwide, there has been increasing evidence about two things:
- A 5cm angiocatheter may not be long enough to reach the pleural space
- The 2nd intercostal space at the mid clavicular line (ICS2-MCL) may not be the ideal location for needle decompression
“I’ve been in this game for years, it made me an animal
There’s rules to this sh*t; I wrote me a manual”
— Notorious BIG
You know, whether you sling crack rocks or not, there are some sage words of wisdom in the late Notorious BIG’s Ten Crack Commandments. Life pearls like “Never let ‘em know your next move” and “Never keep no weight on you” have helped guide me through some challenging life decisions.
1. Never let no one know how much dough you hold
2. Never let ‘em know your next move
3. Never trust nobody
4. Never get high on your own supply
5. Never sell no crack where you rest at
6. That Goddamn credit, forget it
7. Keep your family and business completely separated
8. Never keep no weight on you
9. If you ain’t getting bags stay the f*ck from police
10. A strong word called consignment; If you ain’t got the clientele say hell no
Table 1. The ten crack commandments.
While not much is new in the world of hustlin’, when it comes to trauma resuscitation, the game done changed*. It was easier in the old days: 2L of crystalloid for a hypotensive patient, and then blood. While new science on trauma resuscitation has helped us understand how flawed that paradigm is, the new school can be some tricky water to navigate. From damage control to fibrinogen, from TXA to thromboelastometry, there is no doubt that resuscitating a bleeding trauma patient is a more nuanced endeavor than we originally envisioned it.
So, inspired by Biggie’s Descartesian ten-point discourse on method, I present the ten rules of the contemporary trauma resuscitation game as I see them – backed by science, and occasionally editorialized with personal opinion.