The research agenda for trauma critical care
In this research agenda on the acute and critical care management of trauma patients, we concentrate on the major factors leading to death, namely haemorrhage and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In haemostasis biology, the results of randomised controlled trials have led to the therapeutic focus moving away from the augmentation of coagulation factors (such as recombinant factor VIIa) and towards fibrinogen supplementation and administration of antifibrinolytics such as tranexamic acid. Novel diagnostic techniques need to be evaluated to determine whether an individualised precision approach is superior to current empirical practice. The timing and efficacy of platelet transfusions remain in question, while new blood products need to be developed and evaluated, including whole blood variants, lyophilised products and novel red cell storage modalities. The current cornerstones of TBI management are intracranial pressure control, maintenance of cerebral perfusion pressure and avoidance of secondary insults (such as hypotension, hypoxaemia, hyperglycaemia and pyrexia). Therapeutic hypothermia and decompressive craniectomy are controversial therapies. Further research into these strategies should focus on identifying which subgroups of patients may benefit from these interventions. Prediction of the long-term outcome early after TBI remains challenging. Early magnetic resonance imaging has recently been evaluated for predicting the long-term outcome in mild and severe TBI. Novel biomarkers may also help in outcome prediction and may predict chronic neurological symptoms. For trauma in general, rehabilitation is complex and multidimensional, and the optimal timing for commencement of rehabilitation needs investigation. We propose priority areas for clinical trials in the next 10 years.
KeywordsHaemorrhage Trauma Shock Traumatic brain injury Coagulopathy Intracranial hypertension
The authors gratefully acknowledge Jules Cales for preparing figures and tables.
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