Objective: To determine whether implementation of damage control resuscitation (DCR) in patients undergoing damage control laparotomy (DCL) translates into improved survival.
Background: DCR aims at preventing coagulopathy through permissive hypotension, limiting crystalloids and delivering higher ratios of plasma and platelets. Previous work has focused only on the impact of delivering higher ratios (1:1:1).
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed on all DCL patients admitted between January 2004 and August 2010. Patients were divided into pre-DCR implementation and DCR groups and were excluded if they died before completion of the initial laparotomy. The lethal triad was defined as immediate postoperative temperature less than 95°F, international normalized ratio more than 1.5, or a pH less than 7.30.
Results: A total of 390 patients underwent DCL. Of these, 282 were pre-DCR and 108 were DCR. Groups were similar in demographics, injury severity, admission vitals, and laboratory values. DCR patients received less crystalloids (median: 14 L vs 5 L), red blood cells (13 U vs 7 U), plasma (11 U vs 8 U), and platelets (6 U vs 0 U) in 24 hours, all P < 0.05. DCR patients had less evidence of the lethal triad upon intensive care unit arrival (80% vs 46%, P < 0.001). 24-hour and 30-day survival was higher with DCR (88% vs 97%, P = 0.006 and 76% vs 86%, P = 0.03). Multivariate analysis controlling for age, injury severity, and emergency department variables, demonstrated DCR was associated with a significant increase in 30-day survival (OR: 2.5, 95% CI: 1.10-5.58, P = 0.028).
Conclusion: In patients undergoing DCL, implementation of DCR reduces crystalloid and blood product administration. More importantly, DCR is associated with an improvement in 30-day survival.