Reliable variables in the exsanguinated patient which indicate damage control and predict outcome

Juan A. Asensio, Lisa McDuffie, Patrizio Petrone, Gustavo Roldán, Walter Forno, Esteban Gambaro, Ali Salim, Demetrios Demetriades, James Murray, George Velmahos, William Shoemaker, Thomas V. Berne, Emily Ramicone, Linda Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


Background: Exsanguination as a syndrome is ill defined. The objectives of this study were to investigate the relationship between survival and patient characteristics - vital signs, factors relating to injury and treatment; determine if threshold levels of pH, temperature, and highest estimated blood loss can predict survival; and identify predictive factors for survival and to initiate damage control. Material and methods: A retrospective 6-year study was conducted, 1993 to 1998. In all, 548 patients met one or more criteria: (1) estimated blood loss ≥2,000 mL during trauma operation; (2) required ≥1,500 mL packed red blood cells (PRBC) during resuscitation; or (3) diagnosis of exsanguination. Analysis was made in two phases: (1) death versus survival in emergency department (ED); (2) death versus survival in operating room (OR). Statistical methods were Fisher's exact test, Student's t test, and logistic regression. Results: For 548 patients, mean Revised Trauma Score 4.38, mean Injury Severity Score 32. Penetrating injuries 82% versus blunt injuries 18%. Vital statistics in emergency department: mean blood pressure 63 mm Hg, heart rate 78 beats per minute. Mean OR pH 7.15 and temperature 34.3°C. Mortality was 379 of 548 (69%). Predictive factors for mortality (means): pH ≤7.2, temperature 4,000 mL, total OR fluid replacement >10,000 mL, estimated blood loss >15 mL/minute (P 2 0.55, concordance 89%). Conclusions: Survival rates can be predicted in exsanguinating patients. "Damage control" should be performed using these criteria. Knowledge of these patterns can be valuable in treatment selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-751
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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