Predictors of outcome in blunt chest trauma

Servicio de Medicina Intensiva, Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet, Zaragoza, Spain.
Archivos de Bronconeumología (Impact Factor: 1.82). 12/2004; 40(11):489-94. DOI: 10.1016/S1579-2129(06)60363-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Thoracic trauma is often associated with polytrauma. Because mortality is high, the search for prognostic tools is useful.
A total of 108 patients with blunt thoracic trauma, 73 of whom had multiple injuries, were studied in an intensive care unit (ICU). The variables named as potential predictors of outcome were the need for mechanical ventilation, duration of ventilation, and high positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP); the presence of rib fractures, pulmonary contusion, pleural involvement (hemo- and/or pneumothorax), or lung infection; the need for emergency surgery; mean duration of ICU stay, and age. We also studied whether or not the mortality rate was higher in polytrauma patients. Student t and chi2 tests (95% confidence level) and multiple regression analysis (Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness of fit) were used to analyze the results.
The need for mechanical ventilation, radiographic evidence of pulmonary contusion, emergency surgery, and hemodynamic instability were risk factors for increased mortality. Higher risk of mortality was not demonstrated for patients with multiple injuries. For patients in need of mechanical ventilation, high PEEP was a predictor of poor prognosis.
The presence of the aforementioned predictors (mechanical ventilation, high PEEP, pulmonary contusion, emergency surgery, and hemodynamic instability) indicate serious injury to the lung parenchyma, which is the main determinant of outcome for patients with thoracic trauma.

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