There is a paucity of data to predict early death or futility after trauma. The objective of this study was to characterize the laboratory values, blood product administration, and hospital disposition for patients with trauma who died within 72 h of admission.
All deaths within 72 h of admission over a 5-y period at a level I trauma center were reviewed. Blood transfusion within the first 4 h of arrival and patient disposition from the emergency department to the operating room (OR), surgical intensive care unit, or the neuroscience intensive care unit (NSICU) were analyzed. Kaplan-Meier curves were generated to determine time to death.
A total of 622 subjects were identified; 39.5% died in the emergency department, 10.6% went directly to the OR, 13.6% were admitted to the surgical intensive care unit, and 29.7% admitted to the NSICU. Of these subjects, 201 (32.2%) patients received blood within the first 4 h. By 24 h, early blood transfusion was associated with more rapid death for patients who were admitted to the NSICU (80% versus 60% mortality, P = 0.01) but not for patients taken directly to the OR (80% versus 70% mortality, P = 0.2). Admission coagulopathy by international normalized ratio (P < 0.01), but not anemia (P = 0.64) or acidosis (P = 0.45), correlated with a shorter time to death. In contrast, laboratory values obtained at 4 h after admission did not correlate with time to death.
Our data demonstrate that admission coagulation derangement and need for early blood product transfusion are the two factors most associated with early death after injury, particularly in those patients with traumatic brain injury. These data will help construct future models for futility of continued care in patients with trauma.

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