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Admission Red Cell Distribution Width: A Novel Predictor of Massive Transfusion after Injury

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Admission red cell distribution width (aRDW) has been shown to predict mortality in trauma patients by an unclear mechanism. It has been speculated that aRDW is a marker of chronic health status, but elevated RDW may also reflect recent hemorrhage. We hypothesized that aRDW is a predictor of major hemorrhage in trauma patients. Shock trauma patients at a Level I trauma center over 6.5 years were evaluated. Patients were stratified by aRDW quintile (Q1: less than 13%, Q2: 13.1 to 13.5%, Q3: 13.6 to 14.0%, Q4: 14.1 to 14.9%, Q5: 15.0% or greater). Massive transfusion (MT) was defined as 10 or more packed red blood cells in the first 24 hours. From multiple logistic regression, odds ratios with 95 per cent confidence intervals (CIs) were determined to evaluate the association between aRDW quintile and MT. Three thousand nine hundred ninety-four met study criteria. Overall MT incidence was 10 per cent and in-hospital mortality was 17 per cent. MT and mortality increased in a stepwise fashion by aRDW quintile (P < 0.0001). From logistic regression, a threefold increased odds of MT was associated with aRDW Q4 (CI, 1.81 to 4.92), and a 3.5-fold increased odds of MT was associated with aRDW Q5 (CI, 2.70 to 5.83). aRDW independently predicted MT, suggesting that elevated aRDW is an indicator of major hemorrhage in trauma patients. The association between aRDW and mortality in trauma patients may be explained by acute hemorrhage rather than chronic health status.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Trauma and Critical Care, Department of Surgery, The University of Tennessee Health, Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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