Objective: Prehospital transport, resuscitation, and operative intervention are all critical to the care of the penetrating trauma victim. We determined which factors most affected mortality in patients with penetrating abdominal vascular injuries.
Methods: Consecutive patients with penetrating abdominal vascular injuries from an urban Level I trauma center from January 1993 to December 1998 were identified from the trauma registry and their charts reviewed. All patients who died prior to operative intervention were excluded. Data collected included mortality, age, scene time (ST), EMS transport time (TT), time in the emergency department (ED), initial systolic blood pressure in the ED (BP), operating time, intraoperative estimated blood loss (EBL), and worst base deficit in the first 24 h (BD). These variables were compared between nonsurvivors and survivors by univariate ANOVA. Multivariate ANOVA (MANOVA) determined independent effects on mortality.
Results: Forty-six penetrating abdominal vascular injuries were identified in 31 patients, 11 of whom died (38.7%). Examining prehospital parameters, mean ST averaged 16.5 +/- 3.6 min, while TT was 31.8 +/- 7.1 min. For ED parameters, initial BP was 94.8 +/- 6.4 mm Hg and initial heart rate was 109 +/- 7 beats per minute. Mean operative EBL for all patients was 3518 +/- 433 ml. The mean BD for all patients was -12.9 +/- 1.8. Significant differences were noted in the univariate analysis between survivors and nonsurvivors for BD (P < 0.0001), BP (P = 0.0062) and EBL (P = 0.0002). MANOVA revealed that only base deficit (P < 0.0001) had an independent effect on mortality.
Conclusions: In patients with penetrating abdominal vascular injuries who survive their ED stay, adverse physiologic parameters reflecting the adequacy of resuscitation are more predictive of mortality than identifiable prehospital parameters.