Trauma induced coagulopathy. Fixed Ratio or Goal Directed Therapy?

3 mar Coagulopathy pat

Trauma induced coagulopathy (TIC) is now recognized as one of the major contributors to mortality in bad injured patients.
Its pathophysiological pathways is debated and still not well known, but seem to be clear, and widely accepted, that the profibrinolytic state, triggered from many and different factors involved in trauma, leads to an acute Fibrinogen consumption.
Thrombin and Coagulation Factors in fact seems to be preserved and well functioning even in bad traumatized patients.
This lack of Fibrinogen, at least in the early phase of trauma, is the real cause of coagulopathy and has to be early recognized and treated to revert the altered coagulation asset existing in a great part of traumatic patients.

Coagulopathy pat

The substitution of massively deteriorated Fibrinogen is the therapy of choice in patients with acute TIC.
Two ways of achieving this goal are recently shown to be feasible, and from different point of view, effective.
The first is the Fibrinogen replacement with PRBC, FFP and PLT with a fixed ratio (1:1:1 or 1:1:2).
The second is a Goal Directed Therapy (GDT) with Fibrinogen concentrate administered on the base of thromboelastography profile of the clot, targeted to guide the Fibrinogen administration and monitoring the profile of clot formation.
The clinical challenge for physicians facing traumatic emergencies, both in prehospital and in-hospital field, is to early recognize the TIC in patients with low injurity score and well preserved physiologic parameters. The early recognition of coagulative system alteration leads to an early support of coagulation and hopefully to a better outcome.

There is no clear evidence and consensus on which hematologic or clinical indicators to use as acute coagulopathy risk stratification in trauma patients.

On Feb 20 and 21 in Bologna, some of major italian experts in trauma gave life to a consensus conference on this topic. The result of the conference leads to an initial, but not least important, consensus on the major implant of the theory at the base of recognition and treatment of TIC.

First step of this implant is the decision on when to treat the patients and when the treatment is futile. If the treatment is not futile the second step is to recognize, based on hematologic values and clinical parameters, the patients at risk of coagulopathy. Some values were identified as suitable for the stratification of the risk, but among the participants were not consensus on which is the most important and wich cut-off level to use.

BE, HB. SBP, Lactate levels were the most wanted indicators for recognizing of TIC. Next step, after recognizing the risk of coagulopathy is the choice of sustaining coagulation. The experts achieved the consensus on this statement but not on which was the best way to do it: Goal Directed Therapy (thromboelastography and targeted Fibrinogen replacement) or Fix Ratio supplement with PRBC FFP an PLT.

Till here the consensus.

Giuseppe Nardi, an intensivist working in Rome at Shock and Trauma Center of Azienda Ospedaliera S. Camillo Forlanini and widely recognized as one of the major experts in trauma, tried to go beyond this statement, designing a clear path for future investigations and hopefully new consensus.
Steady underlining the subjective value of the data, he identified a potential cut-off value for each of the most important indicators of early coagulopathy in trauma.
He indicated:

  • BE -6 
  • SBP ↓100 mmHg
  • HB  ↓10 mg/dl 
  • Lactate ↑ 5 mmol/L

Said that just one of this values is predictive of fibrinogen depletion (normal plasma fibrinogen levels range from 200 to 450 mg/dl, and current guidelines recommend maintaining the plasma fibrinogen level above 150 m g/dl) and on the base of those values he hypothesized that, with a good approximation, clinicians can identify the risk of trauma induced coagulopathy.

Nardi based his assumption on some good articles present in letterature, but he mentioned one in particular:

Estimation of plasma fibrinogen levels based on hemoglobin, base excess and Injury Severity Score upon emergency room admission.

This is a retrospective study of major trauma patients (ISS ≥16) with documented plasma fibrinogen analysis upon ER admission. Plasma fibrinogen was correlated with Hb, BE and ISS, alone and in combination.

The study, being retrospective, is at risk of confounding bias even if regression analysis was conducted.

The authors concluded:”Upon ER admission, FIB of major trauma patients shows strong correlation with rapidly obtainable, routine laboratory parameters such as Hb and BE. These two parameters might provide an insightful and rapid tool to identify major trauma patients at risk of acquired hypofibrinogenemia. Early calculation of ISS could further increase the ability to predict FIB in these patients. We propose that FIB can be estimated during the initial phase of trauma care based on bedside tests.”

Nardi, together with Osvaldo Chiara, Giovanni Gordini and other well known experts in trauma, is part of the Trauma Update Network (TUN) and elaborated the Early Coagulopathy Support (ECS) protocol:

“The protocol aims to avoid the use of plasma in the patients who will need a limited number of PRBCs, reduce the plasma related complications, and improve coagulation support in patients requiring massive transfusion through the early restoration of fibrinogen blood concentration. The ECS protocol has been developed assuming to have a point of care monitoring of coagulation, but can also be applied if a viscoelastic monitoring is not available. The ECS will be adopted by the TUN trauma centers with strict monitoring of economic impact and clinical results” (from: Giuseppe Nardi, Vanessa Agostini, Beatrice Rondinelli Maria et al. Prevention and treatment of trauma induced coagulopathy (TIC). An intended protocol from the Italian trauma update research group)

The basic principles of ECS can be so summarized:

  • All hemorrhagic patients (or bleeding risk) should receive early anti-fibrinolytic therapy (within the first 3 hours of injury)
  • The severity of hypoperfusion and the risk of coagulopathy correlate with the levels of Lactate and BE and pH as well as with the values of PA and Hb.
  • In case of bleeding fibrinogen is the most critical factor in the coagulation process and should be early replaced
  • The remaining coagulation factors are significantly decreased only later, and only in response to massive hemorrhage
  • Platelets decreased significantly only after massive hemorrhage but their functionality may be significantly limited by hypothermia
  • The control and correction of hypothermia is essential
  • Fluid challenge can be granted using crystalloids in patients with bleeding who do not requires massive transfusion (≤6 PRBC within 24 hours)
  • Transfusions of plasma and PTL to patients who do not have a massive hemorrhage should be avoided
  • In case of massive bleeding, it is desirable to transfuse plasma early in relation Plasma / PRBC in 1: 2 or 1: 1 ratio.
  • It is not necessary to start the transfusion of platelets it immediately after the admission of the patient (except in cases of anti-aggregation therapy)
  • Coagulation monitoring should be guaranted by viscoelastic methods (ROTEM / TEG); in the absence of these tools coagulation parameters (INR, PTT) over a, fibrinogen and platelets, must be monitored at close intervals.
But how those assumption can be related to practical clinical world?
The identification of parameters and cut-off values to recognize TIC can be a great step forward on the choice of the right patients in whom starting an early hemostatic resuscitation, avoiding both the risk of exposure to unneeded side effects than the possibility of wasting precious clinical resources.
The achievement of target level of plasmatic fibrinogen (with Fresh Frozen Plasma in fix ratio or with the goal directed administration of concentrated Fibrinogen ) can be the next level for treating trauma patients.
In term of treatment, damage control resuscitation and early support of coagulation must guide our clinical gestalt when treating trauma patients.




Endovascular Treatment of Ischemic Stroke

14 feb merci01


Thrombolysis is nowadays the preferred therapy for ischemic stroke management.
Many controversies on his safety and discussion on evidences that support benefits on long term outcomes, aroused from most of the studies supporting the use of alteplase in stroke patients.
New technologies has been recently developed for endovascular therapy and this made possible a steady step forwar for its use in targeted treatment of obstructed cerebral vessels.
Imaging detection of the lesion, targeted vessels treatment has been applied to a selected group of patients avoiding blind systemic thrombolytic administration.
New studies and good evidences support this technique. Selecting patients with advanced imaging techniques, using the latest stent retriever devices, and performing the intervention earlier is the key of a revolving way to investigate endovascular theraphy in ischemic stroke.

The addition of this tecnique when one of the major cerebral artery is obstructed almost double, according some investigators, the chance of good neurological outcome comparing to tPa alone.

Here is a short review of the 4 most recent studies on this topic:

500 patients where enrolled at 16 medical centers in Netherlands were assigned to intra-arterial treatment or to usual care alone. The primary outcome was the odds ratio of achieving a lower score on the modified Rankin scale at 90 days with endovascular therapy. There was an absolute difference of 13.5 percentage points in the rate of functional independence in favor of the intervention (32.6% vs. 19.1%). There were no significant differences in mortality or the occurrence of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage.

Patients with a proximal intracranial occlusion in the anterior circulation were included up to 12 hours after symptom onset. Participants where randomly assigned to receive standard care (control group) or standard care plus endovascular treatment with the use of available thrombectomy devices (intervention group). Patients with a proximal intracranial occlusion in the anterior circulation were included up to 12 hours after symptom onset. Patients with a large infarct core or poor collateral circulation on computed tomography (CT) and CT angiography were excluded.

The trial was stopped early because of efficacy. The primary outcome favored the intervention, and the intervention was associated with reduced mortality (10.4%, vs. 19.0% in the control group). Symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage occurred in 3.6% of participants in intervention group and 2.7% of participants in control group (P=0.75).

Patients with ischemic stroke who were receiving alteplase less than 4.5 hours after the onset of ischemic stroke where randomly assigned either to undergo endovascular thrombectomy with the Solitaire FR (Flow Restoration) stent retriever or to continue receiving alteplase alone. All the patients had occlusion of the internal carotid or middle cerebral artery and evidence of salvageable brain tissue and ischemic core of less than 70 ml on computed tomographic (CT) perfusion imaging.

The trial was stopped early because of efficacy after 70 patients had undergone randomization. The percentage of ischemic territory that had undergone reperfusion at 24 hours was greater in the endovascular-therapy group than in the alteplase-only group.

The study is to determine if patients experiencing an Acute Ischemic Stroke due to large vessel occlusion, treated with combined IV t-PA and Solitaire FR within 6 hours of symptom onset have less stroke-related disability than those patients treated with IV t-PA alone.

The Primary endpoint is 90-day global disability assessed via the blinded evaluation of modified Rankin score (mRS).

The primary endpoint showed a substantial shift to lower disability levels on the modified Rankin scale. The proportion of patients alive and free of major disability at 3 months also significantly improved, along with mean improvement of National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score at 27 hours.

Read also Medscape commentary at:


My favourite VL view to increase first pass intubation

8 feb

A debate is ongoing among #FOAMED social media about increasing first passage rate in tracheal intubation and some difficulties when using VL.

At the beginning of my experience with VL I experienced some difficulties, but with a radical change in technical approach I reached a good security on first pass success.

Here are my consideration and I hope will be useful for anyone is starting using VL


There are some fundamental differences in VL technique respect to DL, that makes the DL more easy and intuitive to pass the tube trough the cords.


The 3 axys theory for airway management

“Sniffing position” align the pharyngeal axis with the laryngeal one

Sniffing position

Sniffing position

Perfoming Direct Laryngoscopy with the laryngoscope we align the mouth axis to have a direct view of the cords.

DL view












This view coincide with the route for passing the tube, making this step intuitive and easy.


When using a Video Laryngoscope we take our eyes right in front of the larynx, having a perfect “video” view of the vocal cords, but also minimally modifying the axis of the mouth.

Visione in videolaringoscopia


This difference makes the act of passing the tube not so easy and not so intuitive, cause of the contrast between the perfect video laryngeal view and the not easy passage of the tube trough the cords.

In those cases the stylet, the Bougie/Froban or the external glottic maneuvers, are useful to facilitate the video-intubation.

tubo stylet

Golf stick shape of the tube+stylet

But the first goal is to reach this view on the screen of the videolaryngoscope.


I want to have the epiglottis right at the center of the screen and this comes prior of a good view of the larynx.

Epiglottoscopy is the key point of my management of the airways in general and when prforming VL in particular.

Having the epiglottis in central position on the screen allow to:

  • lower the glottic plane facilitating intubation
  • decrease  the force to apply on the airways minimizing traumatism and neck movement in case of trauma.
  • fits all the difficult airway situations because a poor view of the cords is what you are looking for!

If you agree, memorize my favorite view and reach for it when using a video device to mange the airways.

All comments are welcome so please let me know your thoughts.





Ketamine Fight Club: Ketamine in TBI

5 feb


From Taming the SRU Blog a collection of systemtic reviews on Ketamine and intracranial pressure. You will also find a really interesting podcast and some #FOAMed resources on this topic.

Originally posted on PHARM:


View original 27 altre parole

Ketamine and intracranial pressure – literature update

29 gen


Repetita iuvant. From PHARM a litterature update on Ketamine and intracranial pressure.

Originally posted on PHARM:

photo (26)

View original 59 altre parole

F.A.R. in E.M. (Focus Assessed Review in Emergency Medicine ) #4: Stroke. Bonus feature, 2015 ACEP Clinical Policy on Use of Intravenous tPA for the Management of Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Emergency Department

27 gen
MEDEST F.A.RAnd here we are with the 4th episode of the F.A.R. series. If you accidentally lost the first two episodes you can find them here:
#1 Cardiac Arrest
#2 Airway Management
In this episode we’ll explore the best articles of 2014 about:


Before starting we have to declare (if you are not aware of) that MEDEST is quite skeptical about the previous studies that are at the basis of thrombolytic therapy (Lo strano caso del trombolitico nell’ictus cerebrale ischemico, Pubblicate le nuove linee guida AHA/ASA sul trattamento precoce dello Stroke: nessuna nuova ed ancora qulache dubbio!, L’uso del trombolitico nello stroke. Stiamo giocando con la salute dei nostri pazienti?, rt-PA e Stroke: IST-3 l’analisi dei risultati). This can represent a potential bias on the choice of the articles. We also think that the actual evidences, and the consequent guidelines, are strongly influenced by commercial interests and not well supported from evidences that demonstrates how benefits outweight harms. We hope that 2015 will be the first year of a new era for stroke management, an era of well done studies producing strong evidences to achieve good neurological targets in all stroke patients.

In the first part we mention the litterature about thrombolytic therapy

And then the articles about endovascular therapy:

And now as anticipated in the title the 2015 ACEP Clinical Policy on Use of Intravenous tPA for the Management of Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Emergency Department. Those freshly published guidelines give answer at two of most recurrent questions on stroke treatment:

  1. Is IV tPA safe and effective for acute ischemic stroke patients if given within 3 hours of symptom onset?
  2. Is IV tPA safe and effective for acute ischemic stroke patients treated between 3 to 4.5 hours after symptom onset?
Download and read the full policy to discover the recommendations made and based on the strength of the available data.
DISCLOSURE: MEDEST strongly encourage AWARNESS reading the propoused articles.
Abstracts are often misleading and articles potentially biased. Even this selection is not immune from potential bias (just human factors not commercial interests).
So download the full text and read it carefully to have a clear and complete opinion of the related topics.

Follow MEDEST on Google+

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F.A.R. in E.M. (Focus Assessed Review in Emergency Medicine ) #3: Trauma

10 gen
MEDEST F.A.RAnd here we are with the 3th episode of the F.A.R. series. If you accidentally lost the first two episodes you can find them here:
#1 Cardiac Arrest
#2 Airway Management
In this episode we’ll explore the best articles of 2014 about:


Before approaching specific arguments about trauma here are some fundamental articles to read about new emerging concepts in trauma care. Those are the clinical and physiological bases to understand what is happening in the actual trauma management scene.

And now let’s go to specific area of interest:

  • Spine immobilization

Spine immobilization in trauma is changing.

After years of dogmatic approach to strict spine immobilization for all trauma patients regardless any other factor, is now pretty clear that not all the trauma patients benefits from this all or nothing way of thinking. MEDEST already faced the argument in previous posts (The Death of the Cervical Collar?) as also did some prehospital consensus guidelines (Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care Consensus Statements).

In 2014 many articles treated this topic in a critical and modern way of re-thinking spinal immobilization, in particular the widespread use of cervical collar. The lessons we learned is that:

  1. Widespread use of cervical collar in neck trauma has to be carefully evaluated (and even avoided) due to the low incidence of unstable spinal lesions.
  2. Routine use of cervical collar is of unclear benefit and supported by weak evidences. A new selective approach has to be implemented based on prehospital clearance protocols.

What is “revolution” in clinical practice? We don’t have the answer to this dilemma, but what is happening in fluid resuscitation for trauma patients seems likely to be revolutionary. Restrictive strategies and new blood products are the future for the treatment of trauma patients (read also Fluid resuscitation in bleeding trauma patient: are you aware of wich is the right fluid and the right strategy?).

But much more happened in 2014 about trauma….

Resuscitative throacotomy is now a reality not only “in” but even “out” of hospital, so read all about it

An evergreen topic is TBI but new concepts are arousing so read here the latest updates

New drugs and new protocols for airway and pain management: a rationale guide to choose the right drug for the right patient.

DISCLOSURE: MEDEST strongly encourage AWARNESS reading the propoused articles.
Abstracts are often misleading and articles potentially biased. Even this selection is not immune from potential bias (just human factors not commercial interests).
So download the full text and read it carefully to have a clear and complete opinion of the related topics.

Follow MEDEST on Google+

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F.A.R. in E.M. (Focus Assessed Review in Emergency Medicine ) #2

5 gen cropped-logo-medest-aussie.jpg
MEDEST F.A.RThe second episode of this focus reviews will deeply assess a topic that is very “hot” for every emergency professional.
Before reading this episode give a look at the first of the series about the best of 2014 literature on  Cardiac Arrest
And now enjoy the very best of 2014 articles on:

Airway Management

Not all is CRASH! Especially when it comes to airway management. RSI is the gold standard when we talk about intubating a spontaneously breathin patient but DSI is becoming a classic. And is recommended by Scott Weingart and Seth Trueger, not properly two “new kids on the block”….
Caution! You are about to perform an invasive maneuver on a previously spontaneously breathing patient. So remember to carefully avoid desaturation and hyper-inflation!
This disclaimer should be written on the handle of every laryngoscope to remember two of the most frequent fault to avoid when managing the airways.
Always rewarded as a nightmare for the emergency professional, surgical airway is most of the time a real no through road for the patient. So here is a complete guide on how to approach in the best way such a difficult skill.
Does the aggressive management of the airways gets benefits on critically ill patients or a more conservative approach gives best results on clinical outcomes? Facts (few) and doubts (many) in this year literature.


DISCLOSURE: MEDEST strongly encourage AWARNESS reading the propoused articles.
Abstracts are often misleading and articles potentially biased. Even this selection is not immune from potential bias (just human factors not commercial interests).
So download the full text and read it carefully to have a clear and complete opinion of the related topics.

Follow MEDEST on Google+

Follow MEDEST on Facebook




Going Down….Under!

4 gen cropped-logo-medest-aussie.jpg

cropped-logo-medest-aussie.jpgMEDEST yearly trip in Australia finally arrived.

Next two weeks MEDEST will post from Perth. So don’t worry, running in King’s Park, cycling along the South Coast Highway or swimming in Cottesloe, will just enhance inspiration and concentration on everything happens in the #FOAMED world.

Stay tuned to hear about us and about the latest news in Emergency Medicine World.


F.A.R. in E.M. (Focus Assessed Review in Emergency Medicine ) #1

2 gen
MEDEST F.A.RThis is the first (of a series) of literature reviews dedicated to a particular topic of Emergency Medicine clinical life.
We tried to give a deep look to all the articles that had a relevance for a particular argument in this year, and made some considerations regarding the emerged evidences . All the articles are full text end ready to be downloaded.
The first edition is focused on the “king argument” for an emergency medicine and critical care professional:

Cardiac Arrest

Chest compressions

This year the importance of chest compressions in CA was confirmed and even emphasized as one of the few (along with defibrillation) really wothy intervention to perform during CPR.

Mechanical Devices

The “black year” for mechanical devices saw 3 major trials finding no difference in outcome between mechanical and (good quality) manual chest compressions. Still remains the subjective (personal) impression that mechanical devices are of some utility for the human resources management and  transport during CPR.

Vasoactive (and other) drugs

Like (and perhaps more) than for mechanical devices, 2014 signed a really bad year for epinephrine.

Lack of evidence on his utility and emerging ones on detrimental effects, accompanied this “historical” drug through the year that preludes to new 2015 CA Guidelines. Will epinephrine still be there at the end of this 2015? Or new emerging trends on use of steroids and vasopressin will prevale at the end?


And after interventions that are loosing evidence in the years, new future prospectives for the management of CA patients, comes from Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation that gives renewed hopes of better survival and good neurological outcome, despite initial difficulties and skepticism.

Outcome and prognostication

Therapeutic Hypothermia

New era for the post-resuscitative care! Less oxygen, lower tidal volume and last, but not least, less cooling. And, while this year will give us some answers about intra-arrest cooling, now we know that 33°C is equally effective as 36°C and is no longer recommended in post ROSC patients! Maybe….


Hypotermia (accidental not therapeutic), highlights from ERC 2014 Congress and decision on non starting CPR: what changes and what remains in our daily practice.

DISCLOSURE: MEDEST strongly encourage AWARNESS reading the propoused articles.
Abstracts are often misleading and articles potentially biased. Even this selection is not immune from potential bias (just human factors not commercial interests).
So download the full text and read it carefully to have a clear and complete opinion of the related topics.

Follow MEDEST on Google+

Follow MEDEST on Facebook



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