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The trauma patient in hemorrhagic shock: how is the C-priority addressed between emergency and ICU admission?

Sigune Peiniger12, Thomas Paffrath1, Manuel Mutschler1, Thomas Brockamp1, Matthew Borgmann3, Philip C Spinella4, Bertil Bouillon1, Marc Maegele12* and TraumaRegister DGU

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Trauma and Orthopedic Surgery, University of Witten/Herdecke, Cologne-Merheim Medical Centre (CMMC), Ostmerheimerstr.200, Cologne, D-51109, Germany

2 Institute for Research in Operative Medicine (IFOM), University of Witten/Herdecke, Cologne-Merheim Medical Center (CMMC), Ostmerheimerstr.200, Cologne, D-51109, Germany

3 San Antonio Military Medical Center, 3851 Roger Brooke Drive, San Antonio, TX, 78234, USA

4 Division of Pediatric Critical Care, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis Children’s Hospital, One Children’s Place Suite 5820, Saint Louis, MO, 63110, USA

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Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2012, 20:78  doi:10.1186/1757-7241-20-78

Published: 3 December 2012



Trauma is the leading cause of death in young people with an injury related mortality rate of 47.6/100,000 in European high income countries. Early deaths often result from rapidly evolving and deteriorating secondary complications e.g. shock, hypoxia or uncontrolled hemorrhage. The present study assessed how well ABC priorities (A: Airway, B: Breathing/Ventilation and C: Circulation with hemorrhage control) with focus on the C-priority including coagulation management are addressed during early trauma care and to what extent these priorities have been controlled for prior to ICU admission among patients arriving to the ER in states of moderate or severe hemorrhagic shock.


A retrospective analysis of data documented in the TraumaRegister of the ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Unfallchirurgie’ (TR-DGU®) was conducted. Relevant clinical and laboratory parameters reflecting status and basic physiology of severely injured patients (ISS ≥ 25) in either moderate or severe shock according to base excess levels (BE -2 to -6 or BE < -6) as surrogate for shock and hemorrhage combined with coagulopathy (Quick’s value <70%) were analyzed upon ER arrival and ICU admission.


A total of 517 datasets was eligible for analysis. Upon ICU admission shock was reversed to BE > -2 in 36.4% and in 26.4% according to the subgroups. Two of three patients with initially moderate shock and three out of four patients with severe shock upon ER arrival were still in shock upon ICU admission. All patients suffered from coagulation dysfunction upon ER arrival (Quick’s value ≤ 70%). Upon ICU admission 3 out of 4 patients in both groups still had a disturbed coagulation function. The number of patients with significant thrombocytopenia had increased 5-6 fold between ER and ICU admission.


The C-priority including coagulation management was not adequately addressed during primary survey and initial resuscitation between ER and ICU admission, in this cohort of severely injured patients.

Physiology; Coagulopathy; Fresh frozen plasma; Packed red blood cells; Platelets count; Shock; Adult; Severely injured; Trauma