Does repeat Hb measurement within 2 hours after a normal initial Hb in stable trauma patients add value to trauma evaluation?

Int J Emerg Med. 2014 Jul 10:7:26. doi: 10.1186/s12245-014-0026-3. eCollection 2014.


Background: In our level I trauma center, it is considered common practice to repeat blood haemoglobin measurements in patients within 2 h after admission. However, the rationale behind this procedure is elusive and can be considered labour-intensive, especially in patients in whom haemorrhaging is not to be expected. The aim of this study was to assess the value of the repeated Hb measurement (r-Hb) within 2 h in adult trauma patients without evidence of haemodynamic instability.

Methods: The local trauma registry was used to identify all trauma patients without evidence of haemodynamic instability from January 2009 to December 2010. Patients in whom no initial blood Hb measurement (i-Hb) was done on admission, referrals, and patients without risk for traumatic injuries or haemorrhage based upon mechanism of injury (e.g. inhalation or drowning injury) were excluded.

Results: A total of 1,537 patients were included in the study, 1,246 of which did not present with signs of haemodynamic instability. Median Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 5 (interquartile range (IQR) 1 to 13), 22% of the patients were multitrauma patients (ISS > 15). A normal i-Hb was found in 914 patients (73%). Of the 914 patients with a normal i-Hb, 639 (70%) had a normal r-Hb, while in 127 patients (14%), an abnormal r-Hb was found. In none of these patients, the abnormal r-Hb led to new diagnoses. In 148 patients (16%), no repeated Hb measurement was done without clinical consequences.

Conclusion: We conclude that repeated blood Hb measurement within 2 h after admission in stable, adult trauma patients with a normal initial Hb concentration does not add value to a trauma patient's evaluation.

Keywords: ABG; Haemoglobin; Injury; Laboratory; Routine; Trauma.