Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Simple blood test can help identify trauma patients at greatest risk of death

Date:
January 18, 2013
Source:
Intermountain Medical Center
Summary:
A simple, inexpensive blood test performed on trauma patients upon admission can help doctors easily identify patients at greatest risk of death, according to a new study.

A simple, inexpensive blood test performed on trauma patients upon admission can help doctors easily identify patients at greatest risk of death, according to a new study by researchers at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Related Articles


The Intermountain Medical Center research study of more than 9,500 patients discovered that some trauma patients are up to 58 times more likely to die than others, regardless of the severity of their original injuries.

Researchers say the study findings provide important insight into the long-term prognosis of trauma patients, something not previously well understood.

"The results were very surprising," said Sarah Majercik, MD, an Intermountain Medical Center surgeon and trauma researcher, whose team discovered that a tool developed at Intermountain Medical Center, called the Intermountain Risk Score, can predict mortality among trauma patients.

Dr. Majercik will present the findings from the study on January 18 at the 27th annual Scientific Session of the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma in Phoenix.

The Intermountain Risk Score is a computerized tool available to physicians that combines factors like age, gender, and common blood tests known as the complete blood count (CBC) and the basic metabolic profile (BMP) to determine an individual's mortality risk.

All of the components of the tool have been helpful in evaluating individuals with medical problems like heart failure or chronic pulmonary disease. But until now, the benefit of the tool had not been tested for trauma patients hospitalized due to an accident or traumatic injury, rather than an underlying condition.

"As surgeons, we don't often use all of the CBC results in evaluating a patient who needs surgery for a bleeding spleen or after a motor vehicle accident, said Dr. Majercik. "There are certain values, such as hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets that we scrutinize closely as part of good clinical care, but then other parts, such as the red blood cell distribution width (RDW) that we pay no attention to at all in the acute setting. These factors are generally overlooked, even though they are part of the CBC that every trauma patient gets when he or she arrives in the emergency room."

Date from the Intermountain Risk Score tool will allow physicians to take additional precautions with patients who are at greatest risk, and also give doctors important information to consider when talking about prognosis with patients and families.

Dr. Majercik and her colleague Benjamin Horne, PhD, director of cardiovascular and genetic epidemiology at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, reviewed the cases of 9,538 patients who had been admitted to the hospital with trauma during a six-year period.

Using the tool, the Intermountain Medical Center categorized patients according to high, moderate, and low risk levels. Some surprising findings emerged:

  • High-risk men were nearly 58 times more likely to die within a year than low-risk men. Men with a moderate risk were nearly 13 times more likely to die than those with low risk.
  • High-risk women were 19 times more likely to die within a year than low-risk women. And women with moderate risk were five times more likely to die than those with low risk.

"Some risk factors will be already apparent for physicians, but others aren't intuitive," said Dr. Horne.

For example, a trauma patient may look completely healthy apart from his or her injury. But if the Intermountain Risk Score tool uncovers an irregular red blood cell distribution width -- a common sign of anemia -- that will increase his risk of dying.

"It's a standard part of the CBC test, but it's not usually taken into consideration when treating a patient with injuries," said Dr. Horne. "Based on the findings of our research, it's something that should be looked at as part of the care plan model."

Dr. Majercik and Dr. Horne believe their research will give physicians a simple, fast way to better understand their patients' condition, and may lead to new treatment approaches that could reduce the risk of death.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Intermountain Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Intermountain Medical Center. "Simple blood test can help identify trauma patients at greatest risk of death." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118072250.htm>.
Intermountain Medical Center. (2013, January 18). Simple blood test can help identify trauma patients at greatest risk of death. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118072250.htm
Intermountain Medical Center. "Simple blood test can help identify trauma patients at greatest risk of death." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130118072250.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins