I’ve travelled almost the entire length of England to get to the London Trauma Conference this year. What could be more important than attending one of the best conferences of the year? Examining for the DipRTM at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh
So was it worth the 4am start? Absolutely!
My highlights would be Tom Evens explaining why trauma can be regarded like an elite sport. His background is as a sports coach in addition to his medical accomplishments and walking us through the journey he went through with the athlete he was coaching demonstrates the changes that need to occur when cultivating a performance culture and the results speak for themselves.
I can see similarities in the techniques used by athletes and those we are using in medicine now. Developing a highly performing team isn’t easy as anyone involved in the training of these teams will know.
Dr Jerry Nolan answered some questions about cervical spine movement in airway management. The most movement is seen in the upper cervical spine and there is no surprise that there is an increased incidence of cervical spine injury in unconscious patients (10%). The bottom line is that no movement clinicians will make of the cervical spine is greater than that at the time of injury. And whether it be basic airway manoeuvres, laryngoscopy or cricoid pressure the degree of movement is in the same ball park and unlikely to cause further injury. He states that he would use MILS like cricoid pressure and have a low threshold for releasing it if there are difficulties with the intubation. Of course many of us don’t use cricoid pressure in RSI anymore………..
After watching Tom and Jerry we heard that ATLS has had its day. Dr Matthew Wiles implores us to reserve ATLS for the inexperienced and move away from this outdated system and move to training in teams using local policies. The Cochrane reviewers found an increase in knowledge but no change in outcomes.
And finally Dr Deasy has convinced me that I will be replaced by a robot roaming around providing remote enhanced care. On the up side I might be the clinician providing that support.
More from me on this fantastic conference soon. In the meantime follow it on Twitter!
Almost two-thirds of patients with extradural haematoma and bilateral fixed dilated pupils survived after surgery, with over half having a good outcome
Neurosurgeon, HEMS doctor, and all round good egg Mark Wilson was on the RAGE podcast recently and mentioned favourable outcomes from neurosurgery in patients with extradural (=epidural) haematomas who present with bilateral fixed dilated pupils (BFDP). Here’s his paper that gives the figures – a systematic review and meta-analysis.
A total of 82 patients with BFDP who underwent surgical evacuation of either subdural or extradural haematoma were identified from five studies – 57 with subdural (SDH) and 25 with extradural haematomas (EDH).
In patients with EDH and BFDP mortality was 29.7% (95% CI 14.7% to 47.2%) and 54.3% had a favourable outcome (95% CI 36.3% to 71.8%).
Only 6.6% of patients with SDH and BFDP had a good functional outcome.
Clearly there is potential for selection bias and publication bias, but these data certainly suggest an aggressive surgical approach is appropriate in some patients with BFDP.
The authors comment on the pessimism that accompanies these cases, which potentially denies patients opportunities for recovery:
“We believe that 54% of patients with extradural haematoma with BFDPs having a good outcome is an underappreciated prognosis, and the perceived poor prognosis of BFDPs (from all causes) has influenced decision making deeming surgery inappropriately futile in some cases.”
Scotter J, Hendrickson S, Marcus HJ, Wilson MH.
Prognosis of patients with bilateral fixed dilated pupils secondary to traumatic extradural or subdural haematoma who undergo surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Emerg Med J 2014 e-pub ahead of print Nov 11;:1–7
Primary objective To review the prognosis of patients with bilateral fixed and dilated pupils secondary to traumatic extradural (epidural) or subdural haematoma who undergo surgery.
Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed using random effects models. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and PubMed databases were searched to identify relevant publications. Eligible studies were publications that featured patients with bilateral fixed and dilated pupils who underwent surgical evacuation of traumatic extra-axial haematoma, and reported on the rate of favourable outcome (Glasgow Outcome Score 4 or 5).
Results Five cohort studies met the inclusion criteria, collectively reporting the outcome of 82 patients. In patients with extradural haematoma, the mortality rate was 29.7% (95% CI 14.7% to 47.2%) with a favourable outcome seen in 54.3% (95% CI 36.3% to 71.8%). In patients with acute subdural haematoma, the mortality rate was 66.4% (95% CI 50.5% to 81.9%) with a favourable outcome seen in 6.6% (95% CI 1.8% to 14.1%).
Conclusions and implications of key findings Despite the poor overall prognosis of patients with closed head injury and bilateral fixed and dilated pupils, our findings suggest that a good recovery is possible if an aggressive surgical approach is taken in selected cases, particularly those with extradural haematoma.
Comments Off on Early femur fixation recommended
The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma recommends early (<24 hours) open reduction and internal fracture fixation in trauma patients with open or closed femur fractures.
They acknowledge the strength of the evidence is low, but suggests a trend toward lower risk of infection, mortality, and venous thromboembolic disease.
They conclude: “the desirable effects of early femur fracture stabilization probably outweigh the undesirable effects in most patients“
Check out the rest of the EAST Trauma Guidelines
Optimal timing of femur fracture stabilization in polytrauma patients: A practice management guideline from the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma
Femur fractures are common among trauma patients and are typically seen in patients with multiple injuries resulting from high-energy mechanisms. Internal fixation with intramedullary nailing is the ideal method of treatment; however, there is no consensus regarding the optimal timing for internal fixation. We critically evaluated the literature regarding the benefit of early (<24 hours) versus late (>24 hours) open reduction and internal fixation of open or closed femur fractures on mortality, infection, and venous thromboembolism (VTE) in trauma patients.
A subcommittee of the Practice Management Guideline Committee of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis for the earlier question. RevMan software was used to generate forest plots. Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations methodology was used to rate the quality of the evidence, using GRADEpro software to create evidence tables.
No significant reduction in mortality was associated with early stabilization, with a risk ratio (RR) of 0.74 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50–1.08). The quality of evidence was rated as “low.” No significant reduction in infection (RR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.10–1.6) or VTE (RR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.37–1.07) was associated with early stabilization. The quality of evidence was rated “low.”
In trauma patients with open or closed femur fractures, we suggest early (<24 hours) open reduction and internal fracture fixation. This recommendation is conditional because the strength of the evidence is low. Early stabilization of femur fractures shows a trend (statistically insignificant) toward lower risk of infection, mortality, and VTE. Therefore, the panel concludes the desirable effects of early femur fracture stabilization probably outweigh the undesirable effects in most patients.
Comments Off on Blunt traumatic arrest in kids
Traumatic cardiac arrest outcomes are not great, but they’re not so bad that resuscitation is futile – a subject I’ve ranted about before.
The largest study on blunt traumatic arrest in children to date has been published, showing that 340 / 7766 kids without signs of life in the field survived to hospital discharge. Neurological status at discharge was not documented. However, this represents 4.4%, or in other words for every 22 blunt traumatically arrested children who underwent prehospital resuscitation, one survived to discharge. The authors describe this survival as ‘dismal’. It’s not great, but my take on it is that survival is possible and in most cases resuscitation should be attempted.
The authors state:
“Based on these data, EMS providers should not be discouraged from resuscitating blunt pediatric trauma patients found in the field with no signs of life“
While the major focus should be on injury prevention, it is worthwhile considering whether more advanced resuscitation in the field could be provided to further increase the number of neurologically intact survivors.
Survival of pediatric blunt trauma patients presenting with no signs of life in the field
J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2014 Sep;77(3):422-6
BACKGROUND: Prehospital traumatic cardiopulmonary arrest is associated with dismal prognosis, and patients rarely survive to hospital discharge. Recently established guidelines do not apply to the pediatric population because of paucity of data. The study objective was to determine the survival of pediatric patients presenting in the field with no signs of life after blunt trauma.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank research data set (2002-2010). All patients 18 years and younger with blunt traumatic injuries were identified (DRG International Classification of Diseases-9th Rev. codes 800-869). No signs of life (SOL) was defined on physical examination findings and included the following: pulse, 0; respiratory rate, 0; systolic blood pressure, 0; and no evidence of neurologic activity. These same criteria were reassessed on arrival at the emergency department (ED). Furthermore, we examined patients presenting to the ED who underwent resuscitative thoracotomy (Current Procedural Terminology code 34.02). Our primary outcome was survival to discharge from the hospital.
RESULTS: There were a total of 3,115,597 pediatric patients who were found in the field after experiencing blunt trauma. Of those, 7,766 (0.25%) had no SOL. Seventy percent of the patients with no SOL in the field were male. Survival to hospital discharge of all patients presenting with no SOL was 4.4% (n = 340). Twenty-five percent of the patients in the field with no SOL were successfully resuscitated in the field and regained SOL by the time they arrived to the ED (n = 1,913). Of those patients who regained SOL, 13.8% (n = 265) survived to hospital discharge. For patients in the field with no SOL, survival to discharge was significantly higher in patients who did not receive a resuscitative thoracotomy than in those who did.
CONCLUSION: Survival of pediatric blunt trauma patients in the field without SOL is dismal. Resuscitative thoracotomy poses a heightened risk of blood-borne pathogen exposure to involved health care workers and is associated with a significantly lower survival rate.
Comments Off on London Trauma Conference Day 4
London Trauma Conference Day 4 by Dr Louisa Chan
It’s the last day of the conference and new this year is the Neurotrauma Masterclass running in parallel with the main track which focuses on in-hospital care.
We heard a little from Mark Wilson yesterday. He believes we are missing a pre-hospital trick in traumatic brain injury. Early intervention is the key (he has data showing aggressive intervention for extradural haemorrhage in patients with fixed dilated pupils has good outcomes in 75%).
Today he taught us neurosurgery over lunch. If you have a spare moment over then go to his website and you too can learn how to be a brain surgeon!
Dr Gareth Davies talks about Impact Brain Apnoea. Many will not heard of this phenomenon. Clinicians rarely see patients early enough in their injury timeline to witness
Essentially this term describes the cessation of breathing after head injury. It has been described in older texts (first mentioned in 1894!) The period of apnoea increases with the severity of the injury and if non fatal will then recover to normal over a period of time. Prolonged apnoea results in hypotension.
This is a brain stem mediated effect with no structural injury.
The effect is exacerbated by alcohol and ameliorated by ventilatory support during the apnoeic phase.
Associated with this response is a catecholamine surge which exacerbates the cardiovascular collapse and he introduces the concept of Central Shock.
So how does this translate into the real world?
Well, could we be miscategorising patients that die before they reach hospital as succumbing to hypovolaemic when in fact they had central shock?
These patients essentially present with respiratory arrest, but do well with supported ventilation. Identification of these patients by emergency dispatchers with airway support could mean the difference between life and death.
Read more about this at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025619611642547
Prof Monty Mythen spoke on fluid management in the trauma patient after blood (not albumin, HES or colloids) and Prof Mervyn Singer explained the genetic contribution to the development of MODS after trauma.
1. Task focus kills
2. Situational awareness saves lives
3. The best communication is non verbal
4. Train yourself to listen
Prof Susan Brundage is a US trauma surgeon who has been recruited into the Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and the Royal College of Surgeons of England International Masters in Trauma Sciences for her trauma expertise.
She tells us that MOOCs and FOAM are changing education. Whilst education communities are being formed, she warns of the potential pitfalls of this form of education with a proportion of participants not fully engaged.
The Masters program is growing and if you’re interested you can read more here.
This has been a full on conference, with great learning points.
Hopefully see you next year!
There was a jam-packed line up for the Pre-hospital and Air Ambulance Day which was Co-hosted by the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.
My highlights were:
Dr Rasmus Hesselfeldt works in Denmark where they have a pretty good EMS system with ambulances, RRV’s and PHC doctors. Road conditions are good with the longest travel distance of 114 miles. So would the introduction of a HEMS service improve outcomes? He did an observational study looking at year of data post-trial and compared this with 5 months pre-trial. Trauma patients with ISS > 15 and medical emergencies greater than 30 min by road to the Trauma Centre (TC). Primary endpoint was time to TC, secondary outcomes were number of secondary transfers and 30 day mortality.
Results: Increase in on scene time 20 min vs 28 min, time to hospital increased but time to TC was less – 218 min vs 90 min, reduced mortality, increased direct transfer to TC and fewer secondary transfers.
Full article here: A helicopter emergency medical service may allow faster access to highly specialised care. Dan Med J. 2013 Jul;60(7):A4647
Prof Dan Davis ran through pre-hospital intubation. It seems that this man has spent his life trying to perfect airway management. Peter Rosen was his mentor and imprinted on him that RSI is the cornerstone of airway management.
So surely pre-hospital intubation saves lives. The evidence however begs to differ, or does it? As with all evidence we need to consider the validity of the results and luckily Prof Davis has spent a lot of time thinking through the reasons why there no evidence.
During his research he opened a huge can of worms:
1. Hyperventilation was common – any EtCO2 <30mmHg lead to a doubling in mortality.
2. First pass intubation is great, but not if you let your patient become hypoxic or hypotension or worse still both!
3. Hospital practice had similar issues.
So really the RSI processes he was looking at weren’t great.
The good news is that things have improved and he can now boast higher first pass rates and lower complication rates for his EMS system. His puts this success down to training.
The AIRPORT study was discussed at last years LTC. This year we have the results. 21 HEMS services in 6 countries were involved in the data collection including GSA HEMS. The headline findings are that intubation success rates are high (98%) with a complication rate of 10-12%. The more difficult airways were seen in the non-trauma group. 28.2% patients died (mainly cardiac arrest).
Matt Thomas reported on REVIVE – a pre-hospital feasibility study looking at airway management in OHCA (I-Gel vs LMA Supreme vs standard care). It was never powered to show a difference in these groups, the main aim was to see if research in this very challenging area was possible. And the answer is YES. The paramedics involved recruited more patients than expected and stuck to the protocol (prob better that docs would have!). A randomised controlled trial to look at the I-Gel vs ETT is planned.
Finally, Pre-hospital Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) seems eminently possible – Dr Nils Petter Oveland showed us the training manikin they developed for training. Through training on this manikin they achieved an average skin to balloon time of 3.3mins. Animal data supports this procedure as a bridge to definitive care in non compressible haemorrhage.
London HEMS will be starting (P)REBOA in the New Year.
So now it’s stand up science, I’m off for my glass of wine…………….
Check out what they’re saying about the London Trauma Conference on Twitter
- The prehospital management of pelvic fractures
- Pre-hospital spinal immobilisation
- Minimal patient handling
The final one is the most contentious: Pharmacologically assisted laryngeal mask insertion: a consensus statement(1). Here is the summary:
- The PALM technique is an acceptable tool for managing the prehospital airway
- The PALM technique is indicated in a rare set of circumstances
- The PALM procedure is a rescue technique
- The PALM procedure should be checklist driven
- At least a second generation SAD should be used
- End-tidal CO2 monitoring is mandatory
- No preference is expressed for any particular drug
- No preference is expressed for any particular dosing regime
- Flumazenil is highly unlikely to have a role in managing the PALM patient
- The PALM procedure should only be carried out by practitioners of level 7 or above competences
- The availability of a trained assistant, familiar with the procedure would be advantageous
- The training required to achieve competency in performing the PALM procedure must include in-hospital insertion of SADs, simulation training and training in the transfer of critically ill patients
- Data should be collected and collated at a national level for all patients who receive the PALM procedure
They qualify the first point with the statement: The consensus group felt that, in the hands of a specific set of practitioners and in certain circumstances, patients would benefit from the technique. It was recognised that pre-hospital airway management can be very challenging, and deeming the technique unacceptable could deprive patients of a potentially life saving intervention. It was felt that having another tool available to clinicians which could potentially improve patient outcome was important. This was despite the lack of a robust evidence base. It was felt that the technique is indicated in, and should be limited to, a very specific set of circumstances as described below
The publication lists some ‘Organisations represented at the consensus meeting’, which include some commercial training and equipment companies.
It also states that ‘The Royal College of Anaesthetists, although represented at the initial meeting, was unable to support the outcomes agreed by the other represented organisations.‘
This is a very interesting development. I can see the pros and cons of this. Since practitioners are out there doing PALM anyway, it is in the interests of patients to produce a statement that encourages monitoring, checklists, training, and data collection. To meet all the requirements, one must undergo ‘training in the transfer of critically ill patients’, which would normally necessitate more advanced airway and anaesthesia skills anyway.
A tough one – what would you want if there was no RSI capability but you were hypoxic with trismus and basic airway maneouvres were failing? An all out ban on PALM, or PALM provided by someone trained in surgical airway if it fails (as per the consensus recommendations)?
This and some of the other statements can be downloaded in full at the Faculty of Pre-hospital Care site
1. Pharmacologically assisted laryngeal mask insertion: a consensus statement
Emerg Med J. 2013 Dec;30(12):1073-5
Comments Off on Blood products in trauma & survivor bias
The observation that patients with haemorrhagic trauma in military and civilian settings do better if they receive coagulation factors and platelets is yet to be replicated in a randomised trial. It has been suggested that the effect may in part be a consequence of survivor bias – ie. that if a patient lives long enough to received some thawed fresh frozen plasma, then they were already more likely to be a survivor and therefore more survivors will be represented in the ‘FFP’ groups vs a ‘no-FFP’ comparison group.
An attempt to eliminate survivor bias was made in the PROMMTT study, which documented the timing of transfusions during active resuscitation and patient outcomes in adult trauma patients who received a transfusion of at least 1 unit of RBCs within 6 hours of admission.
Increased ratios of plasma:RBCs and platelets:RBCs were independently associated with decreased 6-hour mortality, when haemorrhagic death predominated. In the first 6 hours, patients with ratios less than 1:2 were 3 to 4 times more likely to die than patients with ratios of 1:1 or higher.
A prospective trial is underway to identify the optimal ratio of blood products, in the PROPPR study, in which 1:1:1 ratio of plasma:platelets:RBC will be compared with 1:1:2.
The Prospective, Observational, Multicenter, Major Trauma Transfusion (PROMMTT) Study
Arch Surg. 2012 Oct 15:1-10
Objective: To relate in-hospital mortality to early transfusion of plasma and/or platelets and to time-varying plasma:red blood cell (RBC) and platelet:RBC ratios.
Design: Prospective cohort study documenting the timing of transfusions during active resuscitation and patient outcomes. Data were analyzed using time-dependent proportional hazards models.
Setting: Ten US level I trauma centers.
Patients: Adult trauma patients surviving for 30 minutes after admission who received a transfusion of at least 1 unit of RBCs within 6 hours of admission (n = 1245, the original study group) and at least 3 total units (of RBCs, plasma, or platelets) within 24 hours (n = 905, the analysis group).
Main Outcome Measure: In-hospital mortality.
Results: Plasma:RBC and platelet:RBC ratios were not constant during the first 24 hours (P < .001 for both). In a multivariable time-dependent Cox model, increased ratios of plasma:RBCs (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.31; 95% CI, 0.16-0.58) and platelets:RBCs (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.31-0.98) were independently associated with decreased 6-hour mortality, when hemorrhagic death predominated. In the first 6 hours, patients with ratios less than 1:2 were 3 to 4 times more likely to die than patients with ratios of 1:1 or higher. After 24 hours, plasma and platelet ratios were unassociated with mortality, when competing risks from nonhemorrhagic causes prevailed.
Conclusions: Higher plasma and platelet ratios early in resuscitation were associated with decreased mortality in patients who received transfusions of at least 3 units of blood products during the first 24 hours after admission. Among survivors at 24 hours, the subsequent risk of death by day 30 was not associated with plasma or platelet ratios.
Comments Off on Trauma before and beyond the hospital
Further talks from the SMACC conference are available for free download on iTunes.
Here are the accompanying slides:
Comments Off on Intranasal ketamine for kids – 1mg / kg?
A small pilot study on a convenience sample of children presenting to the emergency department with acute limb injury pain evaluated the use of intranasal ketamine(1).
Initial dose averaged 0.84 mg/kg and a third of the patients required a top up dose at 15 minutes, resulting in a total dose of about 1.0 mg/kg to provide adequate analgesia by 30 min for most patients. The authors suggest that this could guide investigators on an appropriate dose of IN ketamine for use in clinical trials.
Adverse events were all transient and mild.
Prior to administration, the ketamine was diluted with saline to a total volume of 0.5 mL and was administered as 0.25 mL per nare using a Mucosal Atomiser Device (MAD, Wolfe Tory Medical, Salt Lake City, UT, USA). According to the protocols in my Service, this device requires 0.1 ml to prime its dead space(2). It is unclear whether this factor may have affected the total dose delivered to the patient in this study.
1. Sub-dissociative dose intranasal ketamine for limb injury pain in children in the emergency department: A pilot study
Emerg Med Australas. 2013 Apr;25(2):161-7
OBJECTIVE: The present study aims to conduct a pilot study examining the effectiveness of intranasal (IN) ketamine as an analgesic for children in the ED.
METHODS: The present study used an observational study on a convenience sample of paediatric ED patients aged 3-13 years, with moderate to severe (≥6/10) pain from isolated limb injury. IN ketamine was administered at enrolment, with a supplementary dose after 15 min, if required. Primary outcome was change in median pain rating at 30 min. Secondary outcomes included change in median pain rating at 60 min, patient/parent satisfaction, need for additional analgesia and adverse events being reported.
RESULTS: For the 28 children included in the primary analysis, median age was 9 years (interquartile range [IQR] 6-10). Twenty-three (82.1%) were male. Eighteen (64%) received only one dose of IN ketamine (mean dose 0.84 mg/kg), whereas 10 (36%) required a second dose at 15 min (mean for second dose 0.54 mg/kg). The total mean dose for all patients was 1.0 mg/kg (95% CI: 0.92-1.14). The median pain rating decreased from 74.5 mm (IQR 60-85) to 30 mm (IQR 12-51.5) at 30 min (P < 0.001, Mann-Whitney). For the 24 children who contributed data at 60 min, the median pain rating was 25 mm (IQR 4-44). Twenty (83%) subjects were satisfied with their analgesia. Eight (33%) were given additional opioid analgesia and the 28 reported adverse events were all transient and mild.
CONCLUSIONS: In this population, an average dose of 1.0 mg/kg IN ketamine provided adequate analgesia by 30 min for most patients
2. Case report: prehospital use of intranasal ketamine for paediatric burn injury
Emerg Med J. 2011 Apr;28(4):328-9
In this study, the administration of an intravenous ketamine formulation to the nasal mucosa of a paediatric burn victim is described in the prehospital environment. Effective analgesia was achieved without the need for vascular or osseous access. Intranasal ketamine has been previously described for chronic pain and anaesthetic premedication. This case highlights its potential as an option for prehospital analgesia.