Patient safety

Selected bibliography supporting the ten essential objectives for safe surgery

4. The team will recognize and effectively prepare for risk of high blood loss.

American College of Surgeons: Committee on Trauma (1997). Advanced Trauma Life Support for Doctors. Chicago, ACS.

Feliciano, D., K. Mattox, et al. (2008). Trauma. New York, McGraw Hill.

Gaba, D. M., K. J. Fish, et al. (1994). Crisis Management in Anesthesiology. New York, Churchill Livingston.

Rivers, E., B. Nguyen, et al. (2001). "Early goal-directed therapy in the treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock." N Engl J Med 345(19): 1368-77.

  • BACKGROUND: Goal-directed therapy has been used for severe sepsis and septic shock in the intensive care unit. This approach involves adjustments of cardiac preload, afterload, and contractility to balance oxygen delivery with oxygen demand. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of early goal-directed therapy before admission to the intensive care unit.
  • METHODS: We randomly assigned patients who arrived at an urban emergency department with severe sepsis or septic shock to receive either six hours of early goal-directed therapy or standard therapy (as a control) before admission to the intensive care unit. Clinicians who subsequently assumed the care of the patients were blinded to the treatment assignment. In-hospital mortality (the primary efficacy outcome), end points with respect to resuscitation, and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE II) scores were obtained serially for 72 hours and compared between the study groups.
  • RESULTS: Of the 263 enrolled patients, 130 were randomly assigned to early goal-directed therapy and 133 to standard therapy; there were no significant differences between the groups with respect to base-line characteristics. In-hospital mortality was 30.5 percent in the group assigned to early goal-directed therapy, as compared with 46.5 percent in the group assigned to standard therapy (P = 0.009). During the interval from 7 to 72 hours, the patients assigned to early goal-directed therapy had a significantly higher mean (+/-SD) central venous oxygen saturation (70.4+/-10.7 percent vs. 65.3+/-11.4 percent), a lower lactate concentration (3.0+/-4.4 vs. 3.9+/-4.4 mmol per liter), a lower base deficit (2.0+/-6.6 vs. 5.1+/-6.7 mmol per liter), and a higher pH (7.40+/-0.12 vs. 7.36+/-0.12) than the patients assigned to standard therapy (P < or = 0.02 for all comparisons). During the same period, mean APACHE II scores were significantly lower, indicating less severe organ dysfunction, in the patients assigned to early goal-directed therapy than in those assigned to standard therapy (13.0+/-6.3 vs. 15.9+/-6.4, P < 0.001).
  • CONCLUSIONS: Early goal-directed therapy provides significant benefits with respect to outcome in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock.

Rotondo, M. F., C. W. Schwab, et al. (1993). "'Damage control': an approach for improved survival in exsanguinating penetrating abdominal injury." J Trauma 35(3): 375-82; discussion 382-3.

  • Definitive laparotomy (DL) for penetrating abdominal wounding with combined vascular and visceral injury is a difficult surgical challenge. Physiologic derangements such as dilutional coagulopathy, hypothermia, and acidosis often preclude completion of the procedure. "Damage control" (DC), defined as initial control of hemorrhage and contamination followed by intraperitoneal packing and rapid closure, allows for resuscitation to normal physiology in the intensive care unit and subsequent definitive re-exploration. The purpose of the study was to compare the damage control technique with definitive laparotomy. Over a 3 1/2-year period, 46 patients with penetrating abdominal injuries required laparotomy and urgent transfusion of greater than 10 units packed red blood cells for exsanguination. Medical records were retrospectively reviewed for degree and pattern of injury, probability of survival, actual survival, transfusion requirements for the preoperative and postoperative phases, resuscitation and operative times, lowest perioperative temperature, pH, and HCO3. No significant differences were identified between 22 DL and 24 DC patients and actual survival rates were similar (55% DC vs. 58% DL). However, in a subset of 22 patients with major vascular injury and two or more visceral injuries (maximum injury subset), otherwise similar to the overall group, survival was markedly improved in patients treated with damage control (10 of 13, 77%*) vs. DLM (1 of 9, 11%) (Fisher's exact test, * p < 0.02). In preparation for return to the operating room, DC survivors averaged 8.4 units of packed red blood cells transfused and 10.3 units fresh frozen plasma over a mean ICU stay of 31.7 hours. Resolution of coagulopathy (mean prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time 19.5/70.4 to 13.3/34.9), normalization of acid-base balance (mean pH/HCO3 7.37/20.6 to 7.42/24.2), and core rewarming (mean 33.2 degrees C to 37.7 degrees C) were achieved. All patients had gastrointestinal procedures at reoperation (mean operative time, 4.3 hours). We conclude that damage control is a promising approach for increased survival in exsanguinating patients with major vascular and multiple visceral penetrating abdominal injuries.

Shires, T., D. Coln, et al. (1964). "Fluid Therapy in Hemorrhagic Shock." Arch Surg 88: 688-93.