Polytrauma (PT) is frequently associated with hemorrhagic shock (HS), which increases morbidity and mortality. Although various aspects of HS have been addressed in PT patients, the impact of an additional HS is largely unknown regarding the development of multiple organ dysfunction associated with disturbed glycocalyx and barrier function early after trauma.
A prospective, longitudinal, mono-centered, observational study enrolling severely injured patients (Injury Severity Score, ISS = 38.1 ± 2.6) served for an in-depth analysis of blood (drawn on days 0, 1, 2, 3 and 5) and clinical data (up to 21 days) of 30 patients who were then stratified into PT with and without HS.
HS significantly enhanced signs of acute organ injury, assessed by increased serum concentrations of novel damage markers. Moreover, indicators of glycocalyx and tight-junction dysfunction were found in PT patients all of which were significantly enhanced in co-presence of HS. These markers revealed multiple significant correlations with specific barrier, fluid-balance, coagulation, inflammation, and clinical-outcome parameters. Strikingly, mucosa fragments, which affected clotting, could be detected in serum after PT/HS.
The results point to HS as a main driver for glycocalyx and barrier breakdown and suggest novel tools for the monitoring of organ dysfunction in the early course after PT.