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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1990 Jul;(256):80-6.

Limb salvage versus amputation. Preliminary results of the Mangled Extremity Severity Score.

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Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tampa 33617.


Objective criteria can predict amputation after lower-extremity trauma. The authors examined the hypothesis that objective data, available early in the evaluation of patients with severe skeletal/soft-tissue injuries of the lower extremity with vascular compromise, might discriminate the salvageable from the unsalvageable limbs. The Mangled Extremity Severity Score (MESS) was developed by reviewing 25 trauma victims with 26 severe lower-extremity open fractures with vascular compromise. The four significant criteria (with increasing points for worsening prognosis) were skeletal/soft-tissue injury, limb ischemia, shock, and patient age. (There was a significant difference in the mean MESS scores; 4.88 in 17 limbs salvaged and 9.11 in nine limbs amputated; p less than 0.01). This scoring system was then prospectively evaluated in 26 lower-extremity open fractures with vascular injury over a 12-month period at two trauma centers. Again, there was a significant difference in the mean MESS scores; 4.00 for the 14 salvaged limbs and 8.83 for the 12 amputated limbs (p less than 0.01). In both the prospective and retrospective studies, a MESS score of greater than or equal to 7 had a 100% predictable value for amputation. This relatively simple, readily available scoring system of objective criteria was highly accurate in acutely discriminating between limbs that were salvageable and those that were unsalvageable and better managed by primary amputation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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