Developing alternative strategies for the treatment of traumatic haemorrhagic shock

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The optimal strategy of stabilizing haemodynamic function in uncontrolled traumatic haemorrhagic shock states is unclear. Although fluid replacement is established in controlled haemorrhagic shock, its use in uncontrolled haemorrhagic shock is controversial, because it may worsen bleeding.

Recent findings

In the refractory phase of severe haemorrhagic shock, arginine vasopressin has been shown to be beneficial in selected cases due to an increase in arterial blood pressure, shift of blood away from a subdiaphragmatic bleeding site towards the heart and brain, and decrease in fluid resuscitation requirements. Especially in patients with severe traumatic brain injury, rapid stabilization of cardiocirculatory function is essential to ensure adequate brain perfusion and thus to prevent neurological damage and to improve outcome. In addition, despite wide distribution of highly developed and professional emergency medical systems in western industrialized countries, survival chances of patients with uncontrolled traumatic haemorrhagic shock in the prehospital setting are still poor.

Summary

A multicenter, randomized, controlled, international clinical trial is being initiated to assess the effects of arginine vasopressin (10 IU) vs. saline placebo in prehospital traumatic haemorrhagic shock patients, not responding to standard shock treatment, being managed by helicopter emergency medical services [vasopressin in traumatic haemorrhagic shock (VITRIS.at) study].

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