Development of Novel Criteria of the “Lethal Triad” as an Indicator of Decision Making in Current Trauma Care: A Retrospective Multicenter Observational Study in Japan

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To evaluate the utility of the conventional lethal triad in current trauma care practice and to develop novel criteria as indicators of treatment strategy.


Retrospective observational study.


Fifteen acute critical care medical centers in Japan.


In total, 796 consecutive trauma patients who were admitted to emergency departments with an injury severity score of greater than or equal to 16 from January 2012 to December 2012.



Measurements and Main Results:

All data were retrospectively collected, including laboratory data on arrival. Sensitivities to predict trauma death within 28 days of prothrombin time international normalized ratio greater than 1.50, pH less than 7.2, and body temperature less than 35°C were 15.7%, 17.5%, and 15.9%, respectively, and corresponding specificities of these were 96.4%, 96.6%, and 93.6%, respectively. The best predictors associated with hemostatic disorder and acidosis were fibrin/fibrinogen degradation product and base excess (the cutoff values were 88.8 µg/mL and –3.05 mmol/L). The optimal cutoff value of hypothermia was 36.0°C. The impact of the fibrin/fibrinogen degradation product and base excess abnormality on the outcome were approximately three- and two-folds compared with those of hypothermia. Using these variables, if the patient had a hemostatic disorder alone or a combined disorder with acidosis and hypothermia, the sensitivity and specificity were 80.7% and 66.8%.


Because of the low sensitivity and high specificity, conventional criteria were unsuitable as prognostic indicators. Our revised criteria are assumed to be useful for predicting trauma death and have the potential to be the objective indicators for activating the damage control strategy in early trauma care.

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