Encyclopedia of Intensive Care Medicine

2012 Edition
| Editors: Jean-Louis Vincent, Jesse B. Hall

Abdominal Trauma, Damage Control

  • Clay Cothren BurlewEmail author
  • Ernest E. Moore
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-00418-6_358



The term “damage control” was coined by the US Navy during World War II, and was defined as those procedures and skills employed to maintain or restore the watertight integrity, stability, or offensive power in a warship. This military term is used today to describe the management of the surgical equivalent of a sinking ship. The concept was introduced by Stone et al. in 1983 [1] and promulgated by the Ben Taub General group [2]. The fundamentals of damage control surgery (DCS) are to limit the operation to essential interventions, namely, controlling hemorrhage, shunting major vascular injuries, and limiting enteric contamination, in patients who are dying due to the bloody viscous cycle (the lethal triad of hypothermia, coagulopathy, and acidosis) (Fig. 1) [3]. Aborting the operation enables one to return the patient to the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) for resuscitation and correction of the coagulopathy. Once physiologic restoration...
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryDenver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado DenverDenverUSA