With traumatic injuries claiming almost six million lives a year, improvements in care, including in the challenging areas of brain and bone injuries, and haemorrhage, are urgently needed.
Leading medical journal The Lancet September 21 published a series led by researchers and clinicians from the National Trauma Research Institute (NTRI), a collaboration between Monash University and Alfred Health, which notes the difficulties and charts the progress in improving three critical areas of trauma care.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of trauma-related deaths in developed trauma systems, haemorrhagic shock leads to most preventable trauma deaths and major musculoskeletal injury is the leading cause of long-term, trauma-related disability.
Series editor and trauma surgeon, Monash University's Professor Russell Gruen, is the Director of the National Trauma Research Institute.
"In the case of many surgeries and interventions, we're treating injuries which the body is just not naturally equipped to overcome. Managing trauma on this scale is very challenging, both in terms of immediately treating the patient and in reducing the severity of long-term disability," Professor Gruen said.
"It's also a very challenging area to research, due to the severe and complex nature of the injuries and the differences between patients -- in terms of age and other health problems. It's very difficult to obtain a sufficiently large and controlled sample in order to generate meaningful and widely-applicable results."
The articles present laboratory research and clinical trial results in TBI, haemorrhagic shock and musculoskeletal injury, comprehensively collated and analysed by NTRI researchers and leading collaborators from around the globe. The authors concluded that robust and innovative research was vital to clinical advances and identified the avenues that showed the most promise in terms of improving patient outcomes.
Professor Gruen said there was international recognition of the need to improve trauma care and translate promising laboratory findings to treatments in the emergency department and ongoing care.
"Dedicated collaborative efforts, such as the NTRI, are actively working to overcome the challenges that traumatic injury presents and I am confident that we will continue to see improvements in care."
- Russell L Gruen, Mark C Fitzgerald. Towards a maturation of trauma research. The Lancet, 2012; 380 (9847): 1033 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61418-4
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