SALT LAKE CITY 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.
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 Friday 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
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Intermountain Medical Center