Original Article

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 143-150

First online:

Damage control strategies in the management of acute injury

  • S. A. SavageAffiliated withUniversity of Tennessee Health Sciences Center Email author 
  • , T. C. FabianAffiliated withUniversity of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

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Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death worldwide. The rapid evaluation and correction of injuries in these patients is paramount to preventing uncontrolled decompensation and death. Damage control strategies are a compendium of techniques refined over decades of surgical care that focus on the rapid correction of deranged physiology, control of contamination and blood loss, and resuscitation of critical patients. Damage control resuscitation (DCR) focuses on the replacement of lost blood volume in a manner mimicking whole blood, control of crystalloid administration, and permissive hypotension. Damage control laparotomy controls gastrointestinal contamination and bleeding in the operative suite, allowing rapid egress to the intensive care unit for ongoing resuscitation. Pelvic packing, an adjunct to DCR, provides a means to control hemorrhage from severe pelvic fractures. Temporary vascular shunts restore perfusion, while resuscitation and reconstruction are ongoing. Taken together, these strategies provide the trauma surgeon with a powerful arsenal to preserve life in the transition from injury to the shock trauma room to the intensive care unit.


Damage control Hemorrhage Resuscitation