Resuscitation of multiple trauma and head injury: Role of crystalloid fluids and inotropes

T. M. Scalea, S. Maltz, J. Yelon, S. Z. Trooskin, A. O. Duncan, S. J.A. Sclafani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine the hemodynamic responses to blunt trauma with a closed-head injury and to investigate the effect that volume resuscitation has on intracranial pressure. Design: Prospective study with retrospective analysis of patient data and hemodynamic responses. Setting: Surgical intensive care unit at an inner-city, Level I trauma center. Patients: Consecutive patients (n = 30) who sustained multiple system injury, including a closed-head injury that was severe enough to require intracranial pressure monitoring but not a craniotomy. Interventions: All patients underwent invasive hemodynamic monitoring with percutaneous arterial and pulmonary arterial catheters. Serum lactate concentrations and hemodynamic and oxygen transport variables were measured every 4 hrs. Intracranial pressures and vital signs were recorded each hour. Attempts were made to achieve a state of nonflow-dependent oxygen consumption and a normal serum lactate concentration. Measurements and Main Results: Despite being normotensive and neither tachycardiac nor oliguric, 80% of patients had evidence of inadequate tissue perfusion. Only 50% of the remaining patients had an adequate response to volume. The other 50% received vasodilating inotropic agents. Despite volume loading and the administration of inotropic agents, intracranial pressure did not increase. This observation was found in patients who showed clinically important intracranial pathology on computed tomography scan, as well as in all other patients. Intracranial pressure did not correlate with the amount of fluid or blood infused or with hemodynamic performance, but intracranial pressures did correlate with serum lactate concentrations. Conclusions: Many patients with diffuse blunt trauma closed-head injuries, even when they are normotensive, have evidence of impaired peripheral perfusion. Volume infusion and vasodilating inotropic support improve oxygen transport without increasing intracranial pressure. The observed relationship between intracranial pressure and the serum lactate concentration requires further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1615
Number of pages6
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


  • blunt trauma
  • crystalloids
  • head injury
  • hemodynamics
  • hypertension, intracranial
  • intracranial pressure
  • lactate
  • neurologic emergencies
  • oxygenation
  • resuscitation

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