High BMI and frontal crashes

April 12, 2009 by  
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In adult patients injured in front impact motor vehicle collisions, the outcomes of obese patients with a Body Mass Index greater than 30 kg/m2 was compared with those less than 30 kg/m2. Obese patients were more likely to suffer a severe head injury from a frontal collision.

J Trauma. 2009 Mar;66(3):727-9
Traumatic Brain Injury After Frontal Crashes: Relationship With Body Mass Index

Tourniquets Revisited

April 11, 2009 by  
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A volunteer study showed that tourniquets were just as effective at occluding distal blood flow measured by doppler signal when placed below the elbow or knee compared with above those joints. A makeshift windlass tourniquet, a rubber tube tourniquet, and a blood pressure cuff were all effective. Digital ‘pressure point control’ failed to maintain control of brachial or femoral artery flow.

Tourniquets Revisited
J Trauma. 2009 Mar;66(3):672-5

ETCO2 all over the place in trauma

April 10, 2009 by  
Filed under All Updates, EMS, ICU, Resus, Trauma

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In 180 intubated trauma patients in the ED, there was little correlation between arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) and end-tidal carbon dioxide levels (ETCO2) (R2 = 0.277). In fact, in those patients ventilated to the ‘normal range’ of 35-40 mmHg (4.6-5.2 kPa), PaCO2 was over 50 mmHg 30% of the time. Slightly reassuring that in isolated brain injury the correlation was better (r2 = 0.52)

The Utility of Early End-Tidal Capnography in Monitoring Ventilation Status After Severe Injury
J Trauma. 2009 Jan;66(1):26-31

Blood product ratios and survival bias

April 9, 2009 by  
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Haemostatic resuscitation of trauma patients, using high ratios of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) to packed red cells (PRBC), is growing in popularity as a result of military experience. Few data support the practice in civilian trauma. It is possible that some of the demonstrated mortality benefit is a result of survival bias: it takes time to obtain FFP, by which time severely injured patients may be dead. Therefore, those that receive large ratios of FFP:PRBC must have survived long enough to receive it. In other words FFP doesn’t lead to survival, but survival leads to FFP. Some evidence in favour of this explanation is provided on a study of 134 patients in the Journal of Trauma. Reanalysing data to correct for survival bias made an apparently significant survival benefit from high FFP:PRBC ratios go away. An interesting paper, although unlikely to dissuade us from paying attention to coagulopathy in trauma. I suspect the debate on optimal blood product resuscitation will be around for a while.

The Relationship of Blood Product Ratio to Mortality: Survival Benefit or Survival Bias?
J Trauma. 2009 Feb;66(2):358-62

Sodium lactate for raised ICP

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under All Updates, ICU, Resus, Trauma

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Lactate may be an important metabolic substrate for injured brain and sodium lactate may have beneficial effects on cerebral oedema and cerebral blood flow. Sodium lactate was compared with 20% mannitol in severely brain injured patients with cranial hypertension in a randomised controlled trial. Sodium lactate was more likely to lower ICP, and to have a sustained effect on ICP. A nonsignificant improvement in one year outcome was seen with sodium lactate, although the study was not powered for this endpoint. These promising findings should prompt a larger multicentre study.

Sodium lactate versus mannitol in the treatment of intracranial hypertensive episodes in severe traumatic brain-injured patients
Intensive Care Med. 2009 Mar;35(3):471-9

Passenger Compartment Intrusion and Kids

April 7, 2009 by  
Filed under EMS, Kids, Resus, Trauma

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The presence and degree of compartment intrusion (from crash investigation data) was correlated with the likelihood of serious injury in 880 children from age 0-15 years, and odds for presence of serious injury increased for each centimetre of compartment intrusion.

Passenger Compartment Intrusion as a Predictor of Significant Injury for Children in Motor Vehicle Crashes
J Trauma. 2009 Feb;66(2):504-7

Paramedics control space

April 6, 2009 by  
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Paramedics practice ‘‘in the street’’ and perform in ‘‘a context rife with chaotic, dangerous, and often uncontrollable elements with which hospital-based practitioners need not contend’ We knew that, but what isn’t known is how more experienced or expert paramedics differ from novices in scene management. This qualitative study involving interviews of 24 paramedics describes the ‘space control theory’ – how paramedics establish control over their immediate workspace to effectively deliver patient care. It’s not big on detail, but at least this paper documents for hospital-based ambulance medical advisors that there is more to paramedicine than purely clinical factors, which is why insistence on hospital-derived clinical treatment algorithms might sometimes be inappropriate in the field. I’ve emailed the author for more details.

Introduction to the ‘‘space-control theory of paramedic scene management’’
Emerg Med J. 2009 Mar;26(3):213-6

Pre-hospital arterial lines

April 5, 2009 by  
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Arterial lines in the field? You’ve got to be nuts, or…..French! Yep, the SAMU boys and girls put in 94 arterial lines in pre-hospital cases over two years, and found big differences between invasive and non-invasive arterial pressures in systolic and diastolic pressures. What about mean pressures though, which we’d expect to be more closely correlated? They didn’t say. An interesting paper, but I don’t think I can use it.

Emerg Med J. 2009 Mar;26(3):210-2
Invasive arterial blood pressure monitoring in an out-of-hospital setting: an observational study

Whole body CT in trauma

April 4, 2009 by  
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German trauma patients are more likely to survive if they have a whole body CT rather than selective scans. Or that’s what this paper would have you believe IF you’re happy with the retrospective comparison, multivariate adjustments, and potential confounders. Still, if it helps you get your radiologists to play ball, the reference is…

Effect of whole-body CT during trauma resuscitation on survival: a retrospective, multicentre study
Lancet. 2009 Apr 25;373(9673):1455-61