Do Parameters Used to Clear Noncritically Injured Polytrauma Patients for Extremity Surgery Predict Complications?

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In multiply injured patients, definitive stabilization of major fractures is performed whenever feasible, depending on the clinical condition.


We therefore asked whether (1) any preoperative indicators predict major complications after major extremity surgery; (2) perioperative routine parameters other than those indicative of hemorrhagic shock predict postoperative complications; and (3) any postoperative clinical findings can predict major complications in the further course of the patient.


We prospectively followed patients with femoral midshaft fracture, Injury Severity Score (ISS) > 16 points, or three fractures and Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) ≥ 2 points and another injury (AIS ≥ 2 points), and age 18 to 65 years. We recorded multiple clinical parameters. End points were pneumonia, sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute lung injury, and multiple organ failure.


Forty-three of 165 patients developed complications. (1) Patients with complications had a decreased initial Glasgow Coma Scale and tended to have a lower ISS. (2) None of the assessed perioperative parameters was able to sufficiently predict postoperative complications. (3) The presence of a lung contusion and ventilation > 48 hours were associated with complications in the further course.


In stable multiply injured patients, none of the individual routine clinical parameters was able to predict complications. Severe head and thoracic injuries seem to be important drivers for the development postoperative complications.

Level of Evidence

Level II, prognostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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