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Researchers find that simple blood test can help identify trauma patients at greatest risk of death
Date:1/17/2013

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
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Contact: Jess C. Gomez
jess.gomez@imail.org
801-718-8495
Intermountain Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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