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A Review of metabolic staging in severely injured patients

Maria-Angeles Aller1, Jose-Ignacio Arias2*, Alfredo Alonso-Poza3 and Jaime Arias1

Author Affiliations

1 Surgery I Department, School of Medicine, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

2 General and Digestive Surgery Unit, Monte Naranco Hospital, Consejeria de Salud y Servicios Sanitarios, Principado de Asturias, Oviedo, Spain

3 General and Digestive Surgery Unit, Sudeste Hospital, Arganda del Rey, Madrid, Spain

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Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2010, 18:27  doi:10.1186/1757-7241-18-27

Published: 17 May 2010


An interpretation of the metabolic response to injury in patients with severe accidental or surgical trauma is made. In the last century, various authors attributed a meaning to the post-traumatic inflammatory response by using teleological arguments. Their interpretations of this response, not only facilitates integrating the knowledge, but also the flow from the bench to the bedside, which is the main objective of modern translational research. The goal of the current review is to correlate the metabolic changes with the three phenotypes -ischemia-reperfusion, leukocytic and angiogenic- that the patients express during the evolution of the systemic inflammatory response. The sequence in the expression of multiple metabolic systems that becomes progressively more elaborate and complex in severe injured patients urges for more detailed knowledge in order to establish the most adequate metabolic support according to the evolutive phase. Thus, clinicians must employ different treatment strategies based on the different metabolic phases when caring for this challenging patient population. Perhaps, the best therapeutic option would be to favor early hypometabolism during the ischemia-reperfusion phase, to boost the antienzymatic metabolism and to reduce hypermetabolism during the leukocytic phase through the early administration of enteral nutrition and the modulation of the acute phase response. Lastly, the early epithelial regeneration of the injured organs and tissues by means of an oxidative metabolism would reduce the fibrotic sequelae in these severely injured patients.