Background: Studies using isolated polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) indicate that trauma is associated with altered function of PMNs. Because isolation of PMNs can itself alter the function of these cells, we examined the relationships among measures of injury severity and several indices of PMN function using whole blood samples from trauma patients.
Methods: Whole blood samples were obtained from 12 blunt trauma patients with multiple injuries in the intensive care unit of a Level I trauma center within 24 hours of admission and from 11 healthy volunteers. Samples were assayed for PMN chemiluminescence (CL) in response to a complement receptor 3 (CR3)-dependent agonist and for CD11b (CR3) expression. Common clinical parameters were correlated with CL and CR3 expression.
Results: The CL ratio (i.e., unprimed/primed CL) was significantly correlated with initial base deficit (BD), Injury Severity Score (ISS), CR3 expression, units of packed red blood cells transfused during the interval before blood sampling, and length of intensive care unit stay (survivors only). In contrast, BD did not correlate with units of red blood cells transfused or length of stay. Similarly, ISS did not correlate with length of stay.
Conclusion: Significant correlations were observed between CL ratios and CR3 expression, ISS, initial BD, length of stay, and units of blood given. These data suggest that measuring CL produced by PMNs in whole blood is a potentially useful way to assess injury severity. Whereas the initial BD and ISS are indicators of how badly injured a patient is at the time of entry into a trauma center, the CL ratio may be a more useful indicator of both injury severity and prognosis.