Unstable Without a Source: The Non-Diagnostic Triad in Hypotensive Blunt Trauma Victims

Authors

  • Robert Emmett Reily Tulane University
  • Tyler Simpson Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Morgan Evans
  • Alison A. Smith Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Juan Carolos Duchesne

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.26676/jevtm.v3i1.83

Keywords:

REBOA, Blunt Trauma, A.T.L.S., Algorithms

Abstract

Background: Current algorithms for resuscitation in blunt trauma patients rely on chest x-ray, FAST, and pelvic x-ray to quickly elicit a source of major bleeding in the trauma bay.  There are currently no good recommendations for the patient in whom all three of these imaging studies are negative. 

Methods:  We identified blunt trauma victims who presented with a systolic blood pressure below 100mmHg.  Chest x-ray, FAST, and pelvic x-ray obtained in the trauma bay were reviewed, and patients who had all three studies negative underwent thorough chart review and characterization of injuries.  

Results:  Of the total hypotensive blunt trauma victims (n=649), we found 47 who had a “non-diagnostic triad” (NDT).  Of the NDT group, 31.9% (n=15) were found to have a major injury contributing to hypotension, while 61% (n=29) were not diagnosed with a severe injury that could have contributed to hypotension.  Of the NDT group with severe injury, 40% (n=6) were found to have retroperitoneal bleeding, 40% (n=6) were found to have intraperitoneal bleeding despite negative fast, 13% (n=2) were thought to have spinal shock, and one patient had a blunt cardiac injury.   

Conclusions:  Most of the NDT group patients in this study were not diagnosed with a serious injury.  However, a significant minority (31%) were found to have a major injury contributing to hypotension.  Of these patients, retroperitoneal and/or intra-abdominal bleeding were found in 80%, with neurogenic and cardiogenic shock less common.  We feel these sicker NDT patients may benefit from REBOA, although more study is warranted before formal algorithms and recommendations are made. 

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Published

2019-01-30

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Original Article