Effect of early use of noradrenaline on in-hospital mortality in haemorrhagic shock after major trauma: a propensity-score analysis

Br J Anaesth. 2018 Jun;120(6):1237-1244. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2018.02.032. Epub 2018 Apr 14.


Background: The role of vasopressors in trauma-related haemorrhagic shock (HS) remains a matter of debate. They are part of the most recent European recommendations on the management of HS and are regularly used in France. We assessed the effect of early administration of noradrenaline in 24 h mortality of trauma patients in HS, using a propensity-score analysis.

Methods: The study included patients from a multicentre prospective regional trauma registry. HS was defined as transfusion of ≥4 erythrocyte-concentrate units during the first 6 h. Patients with a Glasgow coma scale=3 and pre-hospital traumatic cardiac arrest were excluded. The main outcome measure was in-hospital mortality. The explicative and adjustment variables for the outcome and treatment allocation were predetermined by a Delphi method. The in-hospital mortality of patients with and without early administration of noradrenaline was compared in a propensity-score model, including all predetermined variables.

Results: Of 7141 patients in the registry in the study period, 6353 were screened and 518 patients in HS (201 with early noradrenaline use and 317 without) were included and analysed. After propensity-score matching, 100 patients remained in each group, and the hazard-ratio mortality was 0.95 (95% confidence interval: 0.45-2.01; P=0.69).

Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that noradrenaline use in the early phase of traumatic HS does not seem to affect mortality adversely. This observation supports a rationale for equipoise in favour of a prospective trial of the use of vasopressors in HS after trauma.

Keywords: noradrenaline; propensity score; shock; trauma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / administration & dosage*
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norepinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • Norepinephrine / therapeutic use
  • Propensity Score
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / drug therapy*
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / etiology
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / mortality
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / therapeutic use
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Norepinephrine