RCoA Trauma Anniversary Meeting 2014: Key Points

I recently attended the Royal College of Anaesthetists Trauma Anniversary Meeting, March 2014.

In order to allow those who were unable to attend the meeting to gain a flavour of the topics covered by the speakers I have created a summary of the key points of each talk from the Twitter feeds of myself (@STHJournalClub) and (with a far greater input of points!) Dr Steve Rowe (@kangaroosteve). The complete document of summary points can also be downloaded here: RCoA Trauma Meeting 2014 Summary.

The RCOA Matrix Codes for each talk are shown, along with the details of the speaker.

Trauma systems Prof Chris Moran, Nottingham, National Clinical Director for Trauma. (3A10)

  • Early trauma CT in trauma – early diagnosis directs ongoing care.
  • The sicker the patient, the greater the benefit of a trauma CT. NNT for trauma CT = 17. Be brave & go to CT if SBP >70 mmHg (Lancet 373: 1455-1461, 2009).
  • MTCs in England have increased survival. OR 1.41 in 2013-14. 40% survival improval in 18 months! Changing the system has saved lives.
  • Prehospital care and rehabilitation care all have to move forward with the development of MTC. It’s the full patient journey.


Trauma scores and databases Prof Fiona Lecky, Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Sheffield. (2A02)

  • ATLS shock classification does not exist in patients in TARN database.
  • GCS, SBP, RR and SaO2 in combination are more useful, but not highly sensitive.
  • Severely injured kids are hypertensive. If a child with trauma has a normal BP (for age), they’re probably hypovolaemic.
  • No triage tool based on physiological parameters predicts severity of injury in the prehospital setting.
  • New NICE head injury guidelines. CT 95% sensitive for TBI, but only 40% specific. 100K CT brains p.a. in UK.
  • Early TARN data showed that TBI as part of trauma increases RIP by x 10! Improved by 50% with transfer to Neurosurgical centre.


Bastion to Birmingham: How civilian patients can benefit Prof Sir Keith Porter, Clinical Service Lead for Trauma Services, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (2A02, 3A10, 3A14)

  • 41 unexpected survivors with ISS 60-75 in military cohort. Many in traumatic arrest due to haemorrhage.
  • 24/7 cons delivered care with focus on CmABCDE & avoidance of trauma coagulopathy. 1:1:1 Tx ratios decreased mortality by 46%.
  • Damage control resuscitation occurs in conjunction with damage control surgery. Admit straight to OR with on-going resuscitation.


Prehospital anaesthesia-the same but different Prof David Lockey, Clinical Director for the Severn Major Trauma Network (3A10)

  • Trauma interventions are more effective the earlier they are delivered.
  • In London 2012-13 63% of trauma patients had evidence of airway compromise on arrival of Air Ambulance.
  • Serious airway compromise is time critical -NCEPOD 12.6% had significant airway obstruction on arrival at ED.
  • London 2021-13 only 64% successful intubation by paramedics. The majority of these were in patients who had arrested.
  • Many challenges to Prehospital anaesthesia – Environment, remoteness, weather, positioning – all add into the risk vs benefit decision.
  • Need a SOP defining: consistency, team approach, auditing outcome, limit choices – keep it simple!
  • Oxygenate prior to induction – hi flow nasal specs, sedation prior to induction, ventilation prior to intubation.
  • Plan B for prehospital RSI is surgical airway, thus roc not sux. Cricoid pressure is largely optional.
  • London Air Ambulance have done 7500 Prehospital RSIs – 100% success with surgical airway (knife + tube) of which 50% were done as the primary airway technique.
  • Paramedic RSI 3-15x more likely to have failed intubation but much better with drugs/paralysis than without.


Transport of the trauma patient Dr Gareth Davies, Medical Director London HEMS (2A11, 3A11)

  • Better outcomes if transported to hospital by private vehicle compared with an ambulance”. Is this because of stay-and-play effects?
  • 85 accidents, 77 fatalities over 6 years in US Medivac system. Helicopter medic more risky job than North Atlantic fishing.
  • Land transfers in UK. 4-9 fatalities per annum – risky business. Wear seat belts; ask yourself if you need to go blue light?
  • In Australia 59% of transfers associated with adverse event. So transfers risky for patients & medics alike – do not treat lightly!
  • Patient movement is bad! Vital clots dislodged. Minimise movement and don’t spring the pelvis!
  • If a patient is transported from a trauma unit to an MTC they should be met by a full trauma team.


Haemodynamic Changes in Trauma Dr Emrys Kirkman, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (2A02, 3A10)

  • Blast injuries major challenge in military (>70% of injuries) with haemorrhage leading cause of death.
  • Trauma bleeding doesn’t follow the textbook physiological response (described by Barcroft et al in 1944).
  • The physiology of simple haemorrhage is a biphasic response-inc HR , then dec HR. However, this is not what happens in major trauma. In major trauma there is sympathetic over activity first, and then as system empties, a vagal response predominates.
  • Lower O2 extraction ratios in traumatic animal models of trauma. Diversion of blood flow from renal/splanchic to skeletal muscle.
  • Three  parts to blast injury: Pressure wave, then penetrating injuries from particles, then blunt injury from being thrown by gas wave.
  • New concept of hybrid resuscitation. Short period of permissive hypotension (<60 min) to allow stable clot, then drive BP to normal.
  • Haemostatics resuscitation with blood products confers a survival advantage, using hybrid novel resuscitation as a model. Helps the clot form.

Triage – Rank Lecture Prof Peter Cameron, Head of Prehospital, Emergency and Trauma, Monash University, Melbourne Australia (2A02, 2A03, 3A10)

  • “Triage should allow the right patient to get to the right place in the right time”. This may mean bypassing hospitals
  • Paramedics gut feeling 98% sensitive at detecting major trauma, but poor at determining exact injury.
  • Prehospital triage scoring systems specific but not sensitive. Under/over triage very common. Victoria state use a complex hybrid system based on physiology, anatomical injury and risk factors.
  • Victoria triage system 98% sensitive, 83% specific. 2% under triage, 17% over triage. Avoids overload of MTC.
  • Interhospial transfers in Victoria take a median of 7 hours. Much better to transfer direct to MTC in first place.
  • Two tier trauma system, but if physiological derangement full team response needed.


Coagulation in trauma Lt. Col Rhys Thomas, Army Consultant Anaesthetist with 16 Air Assault Medical Regiment (2A12, 3I00)

  • ACoTS – coagulopathy of trauma shock. Caused by trauma independent of dilution/consumption of clotting factors. Brohi Ann Surgery 2007; 245.
  • Address ACoTS with shock packs. PRC, FFP, Plts, Cryo 1:1:1:1. Lowers Hct to 0.29 but this gives optimal flow.
  • Age of PRCs doesn’t matter if transfusing < 5 units. Above this, greater rates of VTE with older PRCs.
  • Vasopressors worsen outcome in trauma- 2x mortality increase. Sperry et al J of T 2008:64:9-14. (Not in isolated HI though)
  • Base deficit best guide to resuscitation. Can still be hypovolaemic with normal BP. Aim BD 0 to -2.
  • Aim Ca2+ > 1.0 Hypocalaemia worsens clotting, myocardial contractility and increases mortality.
  • 10 in 10 rule in military trauma: every 10 mins surgeon must talk to anaesthetist for 10 seconds.


Orthopaedic damage control resuscitation and surgery Prof Chris Moran, National Clinical Director for Trauma (3A10, 3A08)

  • “It’s decisions rather than incisions that makes the difference in major trauma care – it is all about the team.”
  • Blood and plasma are safe! Use for volume resuscitation. Don’t forget TXA.
  • Three golden rules for the pelvis. Do not spring the pelvis, do not log roll the patient & apply pelvic binder. Protect the clot.
  • Pelvic binder: around trochanters not iliac crest.
  • Repeat X-ray when binder removed if you’re suspecting pelvic trauma despite normal radiology with binder on.
  • Early total care (ETC) is definitive fixation of LONG BONE fractures within first 24hrs. ETC does not = immediate total care. If temp <35C, INR>1.5, plts<120, BE>-5, pH<7.25 – damage control surgery (DCS) only. 90% of patients are for ETC.
  • Monitor lactate during DCS. If lactate > 2.5 stop and splint and return to ICU. DCS should take < 60 min.


Abdominal damage control resuscitation and surgery Mr Adam Brooks, Clinical Lead Trauma, Nottingham University Hospitals (2A02, 3A10)

  • Open abdomen occurs less due to reduced crystalloid resus. Good, there is as high complication rate from open abdomens on ICUs.


Damage control radiology – when to go, where to go Dr Sam Chakraverty, Dundee Radiology Coordinator (2A12, 2F03, 3I00)

  • CT has a major role in managing the severely injured patient.
  • 76% of pneumothoraces visible on ct are not visible on plain chest x-ray.
  • +ve FAST scan indicates haemoperitoneum. -ve FAST scan does not exclude haemoperitoneum.
  • “Haemodynamic instability is a reason to try and perform CT, not avoid it”
  • Stent graft is better than open repair for traumatic aortic disruption.


The Trauma Team Prof Luke Leenen, The Netherlands, President of the European Society for Trauma and Emergency Surgery (1I02, 3A10)

  • Trauma teams require instantaneous, simultaneous multidisciplinary working.
  • A team approach optimises resuscitation times. This in turn decreases the time to definitive treatment.
  • Leadership and non technical skills are key. Can be improved through video review and simulation.


Lessons from Motorsport Dr Tim Moll, Regional Teaching Coordinator, Sheffield (3A10, 3I00)

  • Anaesthesia is the most common medical specialty working in Motorsport.
  • The damage to helmets doesn’t necessarily correlate with the severity of injury.


ATLS in the 21st Century: fit for purpose? Dr Matt Wiles, Consultant Neuroanaesthesia, Sheffield (2A02, 3A10)

  • Slides available here: http://wp.me/p3m5ax-5Y
  • RSI, MILS, nasopharyngeal airways in trauma. All challenged successfully in the literature.
  • Next challenge – GCS of 8-> intubation. We know that this is wrong. 1/3 of patients with GCS 13-14 had intracranial pathology.
  • ATLS is not designed for trauma care in the UK. It’s probably ok if you are a single handed rural doctor in the USA.
  • Etomidate is still mentioned in ATLS, whole body CT is not….
  • Cochrane review 2009 – no evidence that ATLS has had any effect on mortality if from trauma in developed countries.
  • Stop routine recertification in ATLS. Move to local solutions with simulation training.


Managing the anticoagulated head injured patient Dr Suzanne Mason, Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Sheffield (2A12, 3F00)

  • 1% of the population now on anticoagulants (this does not include antiplatelet agents.
  • AHEAD study looking at risk factors for adverse outcomes in patients in warfarin with head injury. n=3534 but poor follow up….
  • AHEAD most patients GCS 13-15 & > 65. 10% abnormal CT. Only 0.5% had neurosurgery & only 5% had warfarin reversed.
  • AHEAD risk factors for adverse outcome GCS <13, vomiting, LOC. OR for GCS <13 was 14.6! Seems like CT a must if GCS<13 & on warfarin.


Role of Hypothermia in Trauma Care Prof Peter Andrews, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh (3A10, 3F00)


Critical Care for trauma-is it different? Dr Robert Winter, Nottingham, Medical Lead for the Mid-Trent Critical Care Network (2C01, 3A10, 3F00)

  • Abdominal compartment syndrome is a common problem, especially after large volume crystalloid resuscitation.
  • 40% of polytrauma pts have a TBI – permissive hypotension to a target of 70-80 SBP is not the right target – aim higher.
  • rib # fixation – emerging evidence for reducing ICU stay, reducing ventilator days, reduced pneumonia.
  • Elderly patients with rib fractures contribute significantly to the trauma workload. Managing these well = good use of resource.


Trauma outcomes and rehabilitation Col. John Etherington, Director of Defence Rehabilitation (3A10, 3I00)

  • Trauma rehab needs to be embedded into acute care. We need more than a safe/rapid discharge.
  • Long term outcome may not be predicted by initial ISS.
  • It’s clear the military have rehab sorted. The NHS have not. This needs to change to make the initial resus phase worthwhile.
  • Average time from injury to entering rehab in UK defence casualties is only 4 weeks!
  • Prostheses are very expensive (£16-40000) but allow early run to work. Ave time to work from wounding – 7 months in military!
  • 77% military TBI pts are employed or employable at 4 months post injury!


Oxygen in trauma: Friend or foe Dr Jerry Nolan, Bath, RCoA Council, Board Member of the European Resuscitation Council (3A10)

  • Hyperoxia reduces ICP, and causes cerebral vasocontriction shunting blood to ischemic regions (in one study)
  • Normobaric hyperoxia-increases tissue pO2, reduces brain lactate values, reduces ICP. Effects sustained beyond treatment period.
  • American observational study – 60% mortality hyperoxia group – worse outcome than normoxia AND hypoxia groups (47, 53%)
  • Post cardiac arrest, hyperoxia worse than normoxia or hypoxia.
  • In summary – avoid hypoxia, aim for normoxia.


Knives and guns Prof Andreas Grabinsky, Seattle USA, Program Director and Section Head, Emergency & Trauma Anesthesia, University of Washington (2A02, 3I00)

  • Penetrating injury accounts for 10% of trauma patients in Seattle.
  • 50% USA military fatalities potentially salvageable. 80% bleed to death- most in first 60 mins.
  • With entrance and exit wounds, can reasonably determine bullet track. With just an entrance would bullet could be anywhere.


Burns Prof John Kinsella, Professor and Head of Section of Anaesthesia, Pain & Critical Care Medicine, Glasgow University (2A02)

  • Burn injury rates are dropping in the UK. Much bigger problem in the third world.
  • 10% of patients in a terrorist incident have a burn injury.
  • Psychological burden of burn injury is significant – MDT approach vital to detect and treat these sequelae.
  • Big diff between smoke inhalation & upper airway burns – thermal injury to upper airway needs urgent Rx.
  • Factors that predict the need for intubation in smoke inhalation pts: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16696366 
  • Baux score > 160 = futility. (Age +% burn); Baux score 110 = 50% mortality.
  • CarboxyHb of 50% = 50% chance of dying
  • Volume resuscitation is really tricky in burn patients. Under and over resuscitation is bad. Parkland formula still recommended.
  • BLEVE: A boiling liquid evaporating vapour explosion. Rule of thumb: if you put your thumb up and you can still see the fire – RUN!
  • Burns anaesthesia – keep them warm at all costs, hypothermia increases mortality
  • Burns patient in a non burns centre? Remember you can call the burns anaesthetic consultant at your burns centre to ask advice.

Why an appendicectomy now takes 2 hrs…

Pedersen AG, Petersen OB, Wara P, Rønning H, Qvist N & Laurberg S. Randomized clinical trial of laparoscopic versus open appendicectomy. British Journal of Surgery 2001; 88: 200-205.

RHH Journal Club. June 20th, 2013. Dr Sunita Asif

No free full-text available

Is laparoscopic appendicectomy superior to open appendicectomy?

Read more…

The origin of DO2 and the magic 600….

Shoemaker WC, Appel PL, Kram HB, Waxman K, & Lee TS. Prospective trial of supranormal values of survivors as therapeutic goals in high-risk surgical patients. CHEST Journal  1988; 94: 1176-1186.

RHH Journal Club. June 13th, 2013. Dr Andy Cruikshanks

Full-text article (if available)

Does the targeting of supranormal oxygen delivery reduce mortality in high-risk surgical patients?

Read more…

PAFC: the yellow snake of death?

Sandham JD, Hull RD, Brant RF et al.  A randomized, controlled trial of the use of pulmonary-artery catheters in high-risk surgical patients. New England Journal of Medicine 2003; 348: 5-14.

RHH Journal Club. May 23th, 2013. Dr Kris Sivarajan

Full-text article (if available)

Does the use of a PA catheter improve in hospital mortality in surgical patients?

Read more…

Don’t forget the steroids when you give the cefotaxime…

De Gans J & Van de Beek D. Dexamethasone in adults with bacterial meningitis. New England Journal of Medicine 2002; 347: 1549-1556.

RHH Journal Club. January 10th, 2013. Dr Sireesha Aluri

Full-text article (if available)

Does adjunctive use of dexamethasone in adults with bacterial meningitis improve outcome?

Read more…

Surgeons and strokes….

Mendelow AD, Gregson BA, Fernandes HM et al. Early surgery versus initial conservative treatment in patients with spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral haematomas in the International Surgical Trial in Intracerebral Haemorrhage (STICH): a randomised trial. The Lancet 2005; 365: 387-397.

RHH Journal Club. May 17th, 2012. Dr Olena Mateszko

No free full-text available

For patients with spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral haemorrhage early operative haematoma evacuation (within 24 hours of randomisation) there is no statistically significant increase in favourable outcome when compared to initial conservative treatment.

Read more…

Cooling off time to make you feel (neurologically) better…

The Hypothermia after Cardiac Arrest Study Group. Mild therapeutic hypothermia to improve the neurologic outcome after cardiac arrest. N Engl J Med 2002; 346: 549-556.

RHH Journal Club. March 14th, 2012. Dr Rishav Goyal

Full-text article (if available)

Does induced hypothermia following cardiac arrest result in an improved neurological outcome?

Read more…