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Surg Clin North Am. 2006 Dec;86(6):1359-87.

Critical care issues in the early management of severe trauma.

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Trauma Division, Hospital Universitario del Valle, Calle 5 No. 36-08, Cali, Columbia.


Violent trauma and road traffic injuries kill more than 2.5 million people in the world every year, for a combined mortality of 48 deaths per 100,000 population per year. Most trauma deaths occur at the scene or in the first hour after trauma, with a proportion from 34% to 50% occurring in hospitals. Preventability of trauma deaths has been reported as high as 76% and as low as 1% in mature trauma systems. Critical care errors may occur in a half of hospital trauma deaths, in most of the cases contributing to the death. The most common critical care errors are related to airway and respiratory management, fluid resuscitation, neurotrauma diagnosis and support, and delayed diagnosis of critical lesions. A systematic approach to the trauma patient in the critical care unit would avoid errors and preventable deaths.

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