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Whole-Body Scans at Trauma Centers Save Lives

Blunt trauma victims with multiple injuries should have complete CT scan

TUESDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Whole-body computed tomography (CT) should be incorporated into the standard diagnostic process during early resuscitation for patients with blunt trauma injury, according to the results of a study published online March 24 in The Lancet.

Stefan Huber-Wagner, M.D., of Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany, and colleagues conducted a study of 4,621 patients, of whom 3,364 (73 percent) were men. The patients presented with blunt trauma injury and 1,494 (32 percent) were given a whole-body CT scan.

For the patients who received a full-body CT scan there was a relative reduction in mortality of 25 percent and 13 percent based on the trauma and injury severity score measure and the revised injury severity classification, respectively, compared to those who had only partial CT scans, the researchers found. Even when variables such as hospital level and year of trauma were taken into account, whole-body CT was an independent predictor of survival, the investigators found.

"To achieve a synergistic effect that increases the probability of survival in major trauma, an existing, functional, and structured trauma room work flow is needed in which early whole-body CT is an integral part," the authors write. "Whole-body CT without an effective, structured and targeted resuscitative treatment will not increase the survival rate."

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