Objective: To evaluate coagulopathy in pediatric trauma patients on presentation to the emergency department, and to quantify the relationship with mortality.
Study design: Pediatric trauma patients requiring a blood transfusion (red blood cells, fresh frozen plasma, platelets, or cryoprecipitate) within 24 hours of arrival were included. Coagulation values on emergency department arrival were analyzed, as were clinical details and outcome.
Results: A total of 102 children (mean age, 6 years; mean injury severity score 22, mean Glascow Coma Scale 7, 80% blunt trauma victims) were studied over a 4 year period. An abnormal prothrombin time was found in 72%, partial thromboplastin time in 38%, fibrinogen in 52%, hemoglobin in 58%, and platelet count in 23%. An abnormal prothrombin time, partial thromboplastin time, and platelet count were strongly associated with mortality (P=.005, .001, and <.0001, respectively) and remained significantly associated in multivariate analysis after adjusting for injury severity score.
Conclusions: Coagulopathy is prevalent in pediatric trauma patients ill enough to require a transfusion and is strongly associated with mortality. Studies are needed to determine whether early coagulation factor replacement and the institution of massive transfusion protocols may improve outcomes in these patients.
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