Publications by authors named "Max V Wohlauer"

37 Publications

Coming face to face with implicit bias, microagressions, and macroaggressions: Understanding the influence of structural racism and misogyny on physician wellness.

J Vasc Surg 2021 Aug;74(2S):101S-110S

Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Department of Surgery, The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colo. Electronic address:

Implicit bias, microaggressions, and macroaggressions have a negative impact on physician and trainee wellness. In this article, we describe how structural racism, misogyny, and other social constructs have shaped the medical landscape. Increasing awareness in medical education, patient care, and research can help to dismantle the effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2021.04.021DOI Listing
August 2021

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on vascular registries and clinical trials.

Semin Vasc Surg 2021 Jun 21;34(2):28-36. Epub 2021 May 21.

Patient Safety Organization, Society for Vascular Surgery, Rosemont, IL; Indiana University, 1801 N Senate Boulevard, D-3500, Indianapolis, IN 46202. Electronic address:

Quality improvement programs and clinical trial research experienced disruption due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Vascular registries showed an immediate impact with significant declines in second-quarter vascular procedure volumes witnessed across Europe and the United States. To better understand the magnitude and impact of the pandemic, organizations and study groups sent grass roots surveys to vascular specialists for needs assessment. Several vascular registries responded quickly by insertion of COVID-19 variables into their data collection forms. More than 80% of clinical trials have been reported delayed or not started due to factors that included loss of enrollment from patient concerns or mandated institutional shutdowns, weighing the risk of trial participation on patient safety. Preliminary data of patients undergoing vascular surgery with active COVID-19 infection show inferior outcomes (morbidity) and increased mortality. Disease-specific vascular surgery study collaboratives about COVID-19 were created for the desire to study the disease in a more focused manner than possible through registry outcomes. This review describes the pandemic effect on multiple VASCUNET registries including Germany (GermanVasc), Sweden (SwedVasc), United Kingdom (UK National Vascular Registry), Australia and New Zealand (bi-national Australasian Vascular Audit), as well as the United States (Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Quality Initiative). We will highlight the continued collaboration of VASCUNET with the Vascular Quality Initiative in the International Consortium of Vascular Registries as part of the Medical Device Epidemiology Network coordinated registry network. Vascular registries must remain flexible and responsive to new and future real-world problems affecting vascular patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.semvascsurg.2021.04.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8137351PMC
June 2021

Modifiable risk factors for burnout in vascular surgery trainees.

J Vasc Surg 2021 Jun 3;73(6):2155-2163.e3. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colo. Electronic address:

Objective: Burnout is prevalent among vascular surgery trainees. Here we aim to identify modifiable risk factors for burnout in vascular surgery training, to facilitate the development of programs to enhance and sustain trainee well-being.

Methods: The Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery issued the Annual Training survey in the fall of 2018 to all trainees. The survey contained items to assess frequency of burnout, as well as mentorship, training environment, and stress coping mechanisms using an abbreviated COPE (Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced) inventory.

Results: Of 628 surveys issued, the response rate was 30% (n = 188). Respondents indicated that the majority of programs offer mentorship opportunities (n = 150 [83%]) that are longitudinal throughout the duration of training (n = 140 [77%]). Fifty-eight percent (n = 109) indicated there was an appropriate balance between learning and productivity in their program, with more respondents leaning toward too much clinical productivity (n = 57) and fewer toward too much learning (n = 19). Forty-five percent of respondents indicated feeling burnout at least weekly (n = 81). The burnout group was less likely to report an appropriate balance between clinical productivity and learning (49.4% vs 67.7%; P < .001), as well as a lower frequency of mentorship opportunities (72.1% vs 92.7%; P < .001). Certain coping skills were used more frequently in the burnout group, including self-distraction, disengagement, humor, self-blame, and substance use. In multivariate analysis, frequent use of self-blame conferred a 9.847-fold increased risk (95% confidence interval, 2.114-45.871) of burnout (P = .003), while feeling appropriately challenged by the faculty was significantly protective (odds ratio for burnout, 0.158; 95% confidence interval, 0.031-0.820; P = .03).

Conclusions: The protective effect against vascular surgery trainee burnout conferred by the availability of mentorship suggests that an expansion and emphasis on mentorship in training may help to mitigate trainee burnout. Mentorship may also be a suitable channel to assess for an appropriate level of challenge, as well as for an appropriate balance between clinical productivity and learning that, when present, are also protective against burnout. Furthermore, the correlation between the frequent use of certain coping skills and burnout highlight this as an area for intervention, potentially through a combination of mentor modeling and formal training on healthy stress-related coping strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.12.064DOI Listing
June 2021

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Vascular Surgery Trainees in the United States.

Ann Vasc Surg 2021 Apr 3;72:182-190. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Electronic address:

Background: The impact of the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic on health care workers has been substantial. However, the impact on vascular surgery (VS) trainees has not yet been determined. The goals of our study were to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on VS trainees' personal and professional life and to assess stressors, coping, and support structures involved in these trainees' response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: This was an anonymous online survey administered in April 12-24, 2020 during the surge phase of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It is a subset analysis of the cross-sectional Society for Vascular Surgery Wellness Committee Pandemic Practice, Anxiety, Coping, and Support Survey. The cohort surveyed was VS trainees, integrated residents and fellows, in the United States of America. Assessment of the personal impact of the pandemic on VS trainees and the coping strategies used by them was based on the validated Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale and the validated 28-time Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced inventory.

Results: A total of 145 VS trainees responded to the survey, with a 23% response rate (145/638). Significant changes were made to the clinical responsibilities of VS trainees, with 111 (91%) reporting cancellation of elective procedures, 101 (82%) with call schedule changes, 34 (24%) with duties other than related to VS, and 29 (24%) participation in outpatient care delivery. Over one-third (52/144) reported they had performed a procedure on a patient with confirmed COVID-19; 37 (25.7%) reported they were unaware of the COVID-19 status at the time. The majority continued to work after exposure (29/34, 78%). Major stressors included concerns about professional development, infection risk to family/friends, and impact of care delay on patients. The median score for GAD-7 was 4 (interquartile range 1-8), which corresponds to no or low self-reported anxiety levels. VS trainees employed mostly active coping and rarely avoidant coping mechanisms, and the majority were aware and used social media and online support systems. No significant difference was observed between integrated residents and fellows, or by gender.

Conclusions: The pandemic has had significant impact on VS trainees. Trainees reported significant changes to clinical responsibilities, exposure to COVID-19, and pandemic-related stressors but demonstrated healthy coping mechanisms with low self-reported anxiety levels. The VS community should maintain awareness of the impact of the pandemic on the professional and personal development of surgeons in training. We recommend adaptive evolution in training to accommodate the changing learning environment for trainees.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2020.09.045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7608023PMC
April 2021

Brazilian vascular surgeons experience during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Vascular 2021 Jun 6;29(3):451-460. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has made a significant impact on all spheres of society. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of COVID-19 on the practices, finances, and social aspects of Brazilian vascular surgeons' lives.

Methods: This is a descriptive analysis of the responses from Brazilian vascular surgeons to the cross-sectional anonymous Society for Vascular Surgery Wellness Task Force Pandemic Practice, Anxiety, Coping, and Support Survey for Vascular Surgeons disseminated 14-24 April 2020. Survey dissemination in Brazil occurred mainly via the Brazilian Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery (SBACV) and social media. The survey evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vascular surgeons' lives by assessing COVID-19-related stressors, anxiety using theGeneral Anxiety Disorder (GAD)-7 scale, and coping strategies using the Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (Brief-COPE) inventory.

Results: A total of 452 responses were recorded from Brazil, with 335 (74%) respondents completing the entire survey. The majority of respondents were males ( = 301, 67%) and practiced in an urban hospitals. The majority of respondents considered themselves at high risk to be infected with COVID-19 ( = 251, 55.8%), and just over half the respondents noted that they had adequate PPE at their primary hospital ( = 171, 54%). One hundred and nine (35%) surgeons confirmed that their hospitals followed professional surgical society guidelines for prioritizing surgeries during the pandemic. At the time of the survey, only 33 (10%) surgeons stated they have pre-operative testing of patients for COVID-19 available at their hospital. Academic vascular surgeons reported being redeployed more often to help with other non-vascular duties compared to community-based or solo practitioners (43% vs. 30% vs. 21% respectively,  = .01). Severe anxiety due to pandemic-related financial concerns was similar in those surgeons practicing solo compared to those in community- or academic-based/group practice (46% vs. 38% vs. 22%;  = .54). The respondents reported their anxiety levels as mild based on the stressors investigated instead of moderate-severe (54% vs. 46%;  = .04). Social media was utilized heavily during the pandemic, with video gatherings being the most commonly used tool (76%). Self-distraction (60%) and situational acceptance (81%) were the most frequently reported coping mechanisms used among Brazilian vascular surgeons.

Conclusion: The COVID pandemic has greatly affected healthcare providers around the world. At the time of this survey, Brazilian vascular surgeons are reporting low anxiety levels during this time and are using mostly active coping mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1708538120954961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539231PMC
June 2021

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vascular surgery practice in the United States.

J Vasc Surg 2021 Mar 1;73(3):772-779.e4. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Division of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. Electronic address:

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to widespread postponement and cancelation of elective surgeries in the United States. We designed and administered a global survey to examine the impact of COVID-19 on vascular surgeons. We describe the impact of the pandemic on the practices of vascular surgeons in the United States.

Methods: The Pandemic Practice, Anxiety, Coping, and Support Survey for Vascular Surgeons is an anonymous cross-sectional survey sponsored by the Society for Vascular Surgery Wellness Task Force disseminated April 14 to 24, 2020. This analysis focuses on pattern changes in vascular surgery practices in the United States including the inpatient setting, ambulatory, and vascular laboratory setting. Specific questions regarding occupational exposure to COVID-19, adequacy of personal protective equipment, elective surgical practice, changes in call schedule, and redeployment to nonvascular surgery duties were also included in the survey. Regional variation was assessed. The survey data were collected using REDCap and analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 535 vascular surgeons responded to the survey from 45 states. Most of the respondents were male (73.1%), white (70.7%), practiced in urban settings (81.7%), and in teaching hospitals (66.8%). Almost one-half were in hospitals with more than 400 beds (46.4%). There was no regional variation in the presence of preoperative COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 OR protocols, adherence to national surgical standards, or the availability of personal protective equipment. The overwhelming majority of respondents (91.7%) noted elective surgery cancellation, with the Northeast and Southeast regions having the most case cancellations 94.2% and 95.8%, respectively. The Northeast region reported the highest percentage of operations or procedures on patients with COVID-19, which was either identified at the time of the surgery or later in the hospital course (82.7%). Ambulatory visits were performed via telehealth (81.3%), with 71.1% having restricted hours. More than one-half of office-based laboratories (OBLs) were closed, although there was regional variation with more than 80% in the Midwest being closed. Cases performed in OBLs focused on critical limb ischemia (42.9%) and dialysis access maintenance (39.9%). Call schedules modifications were common, although the number of call days remained the same (45.8%).

Conclusions: Vascular surgeons in the United States report substantial impact on their practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, and regional variations are demonstrated, particularly in OBL use, intensive care bed availability, and COVID-19 exposure at work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.08.036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7462594PMC
March 2021

Global vascular surgeons' experience, stressors, and coping during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

J Vasc Surg 2021 03 31;73(3):762-771.e4. Epub 2020 Aug 31.

Division of Vascular Surgery, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif.

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented challenges for health care systems globally. We designed and administered a global survey to examine the effects of COVID-19 on vascular surgeons and explore the COVID-19-related stressors faced, coping strategies used, and support structures available.

Methods: The Pandemic Practice, Anxiety, Coping, and Support Survey for Vascular Surgeons was an anonymous cross-sectional survey sponsored by the Society for Vascular Surgery Wellness Task Force. The survey analysis evaluated the effects of COVID-19-related stressors on vascular surgeons measured using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale. The 28-item Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced inventory was used to assess the active and avoidant coping strategies. Survey data were collected using REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) from April 14, 2020 to April 24, 2020 inclusive. Additional qualitative data were collected using open-ended questions. Univariable and multivariable analyses of the factors associated with the anxiety levels and qualitative analysis were performed.

Results: A total of 1609 survey responses (70.5% male; 82.5% vascular surgeons in practice) from 58 countries (43.4% from United States; 43.4% from Brazil) were eligible for analysis. Some degree of anxiety was reported by 54.5% of the respondents, and 23.3% reported moderate or severe anxiety. Most respondents (∼60%) reported using active coping strategies and the avoidant coping strategy of "self-distraction," and 20% used other avoidant coping strategies. Multivariable analysis identified the following factors as significantly associated with increased self-reported anxiety levels: staying in a separate room at home or staying at the hospital or a hotel after work (odds ratio [OR], 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08-1.79), donning and doffing personal protective equipment (OR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.41-2.33), worry about potential adverse patient outcomes due to care delay (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.16-1.87), and financial concerns (OR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.49-2.42). The factors significantly associated with decreased self-reported anxiety levels were hospital support (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.76-0.91) and the use of positive reframing as an active coping strategy (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.81-0.95).

Conclusions: Vascular surgeons globally have been experiencing multiple COVID-19-related stressors during this devastating crisis. These findings have highlighted the continued need for hospital systems to support their vascular surgeons and the importance of national societies to continue to invest in peer-support programs as paramount to promoting the well-being of vascular surgeons during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2020.08.030DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7457940PMC
March 2021

Fibrinolysis Shutdown Correlation with Thromboembolic Events in Severe COVID-19 Infection.

J Am Coll Surg 2020 08 15;231(2):193-203.e1. Epub 2020 May 15.

Departments of Surgery.

Background: COVID-19 predisposes patients to a prothrombotic state with demonstrated microvascular involvement. The degree of hypercoagulability appears to correlate with outcomes; however, optimal criteria to assess for the highest-risk patients for thrombotic events remain unclear; we hypothesized that deranged thromboelastography measurements of coagulation would correlate with thromboembolic events.

Study Design: Patients admitted to an ICU with COVID-19 diagnoses who had thromboelastography analyses performed were studied. Conventional coagulation assays, d-dimer levels, and viscoelastic measurements were analyzed using a receiver operating characteristic curve to predict thromboembolic outcomes and new-onset renal failure.

Results: Forty-four patients with COVID-19 were included in the analysis. Derangements in coagulation laboratory values, including elevated d-dimer, fibrinogen, prothrombin time, and partial thromboplastin time, were confirmed; viscoelastic measurements showed an elevated maximum amplitude and low lysis of clot at 30 minutes. A complete lack of lysis of clot at 30 minutes was seen in 57% of patients and predicted venous thromboembolic events with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.742 (p = 0.021). A d-dimer cutoff of 2,600 ng/mL predicted need for dialysis with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.779 (p = 0.005). Overall, patients with no lysis of clot at 30 minutes and a d-dimer > 2,600 ng/mL had a venous thromboembolic event rate of 50% compared with 0% for patients with neither risk factor (p = 0.008), and had a hemodialysis rate of 80% compared with 14% (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: Fibrinolysis shutdown, as evidenced by elevated d-dimer and complete failure of clot lysis at 30 minutes on thromboelastography predicts thromboembolic events and need for hemodialysis in critically ill patients with COVID-19. Additional clinical trials are required to ascertain the need for early therapeutic anticoagulation or fibrinolytic therapy to address this state of fibrinolysis shutdown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2020.05.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7227511PMC
August 2020

Plantar Flexion-Induced Entrapment of the Dorsalis Pedis Artery in a Teenaged Cross-Country Runner.

Ann Vasc Surg 2021 Jan 22;70:213-218. Epub 2020 Apr 22.

Department of Vascular Surgery, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO. Electronic address:

Background: Symptomatic peripheral artery disease of the lower extremity rarely affects young adults and, when present, typically has a nonatherosclerotic etiology. Anatomical variants have manifested as symptomatic foot ischemia in four cases in the literature. We describe the case of a 17-year-old girl presenting with foot pain upon plantar flexion due to dynamic dorsalis pedis (DP) artery entrapment by fibrous bands and the extensor hallucis brevis (EHB) tendon.

Methods: The patient was a 17-year-old girl who presented with right foot pain upon plantar flexion, which resolved upon returning to the neutral position. The potential site of compression was identified on MRI where the DP artery ran deep to the EHB tendon near the first and second tarsometatarsal joints. On diagnostic arteriogram, there was notching of the dorsalis pedis over the talus bone. The dorsalis pedis Doppler signal was obliterated upon plantar flexion. A longitudinal incision was made over the artery in the area of compression. The flexor retinaculum was incised. Abnormal fibrous bands were identified, which were lysed anterior to the artery. The EHB tendon was released and transferred distally to the extensor hallucis longus tendon.

Results: A completion angiogram showed a persistently patent dorsalis pedis artery with plantar flexion. She was discharged one day postoperatively without issues. On follow-up, the patient was ambulatory with complete resolution of her pain. Arterial duplex demonstrated normal velocities through the dorsalis pedis in all positions.

Conclusions: Symptomatic peripheral artery disease is a rare presentation in young adults and is usually due to nonatherosclerotic pathophysiology. We present a rare case of dorsalis pedis artery entrapment syndrome. Given the mechanical nature of obstruction, surgical correction was an effective treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2020.03.045DOI Listing
January 2021

Current issues and future directions for vascular surgery training from the results of the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery annual training survey.

J Vasc Surg 2019 12 27;70(6):2014-2020. Epub 2019 May 27.

Section of Vascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. Electronic address:

Background: Surgical training is constantly adapting to better prepare trainees for an evolving landscape of surgical practice. Training in vascular surgery additionally underwent a paradigm shift with the introduction of the integrated training pathway now more than a decade ago. With this study, we sought to characterize the needs and goals of our current vascular surgery trainee population.

Methods: The Association of Program Directors in Vascular Surgery Issues Committee compiled a survey to assess demographics, current needs, and goals of trainees and to evaluate trainee distress using a validated seven-item Physician Well-Being Index. The survey was distributed electronically to all current vascular surgery trainees and recent graduates in the academic years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, and responses were recorded anonymously.

Results: During the 2 years of the survey, the response rate was 30% (n = 367/1196). The respondents were 55% (n = 202) integrated vascular residents and 45% (n = 165) vascular surgery fellows. In each year of the survey, 60% (n = 102/170) and 58% (n = 86/148) of trainees expressed a desire to pursue academics in their careers, whereas 37% (n = 63/174) and 35% (n = 53/152) indicated their program had structured academic development time (2016-2017 and 2017-2018, respectively). Fifty-five percent (n = 96/174) and 52% (n = 79/152) stated that the overall impact of collaborative learners was positive. More than 60% of respondents in both years of the survey indicated experiencing one or more symptoms of distress on a weekly basis. The frequency of distress was associated with older age and with the presence of an advanced degree in both years of the survey. Sex, level of training, presence of collaborative learners, and having protected research time were not associated with frequency of distress in either year of the survey.

Conclusions: These results highlight an opportunity for programs to further evaluate the needs of their trainees for academic development during vascular surgery training to better accommodate trainees' career goals. Further investigation to identify modifiable risk factors for distress among vascular surgery trainees is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2019.02.050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6878124PMC
December 2019

Diagnostic workup and endovascular treatment of popliteal artery trauma.

Vasa 2019 Jan 17;48(1):65-71. Epub 2018 Oct 17.

2 Division of Interventional Radiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA.

Although management paradigms for certain arterial trauma, such as aortic injuries, have moved towards an endovascular approach, the application of endovascular techniques for the treatment of peripheral arterial injuries continues to be debated. In the realm of peripheral vascular trauma, popliteal arterial injuries remain a devastating condition with significant rates of limb loss. Expedient management is essential and surgical revascularization has been the gold standard. Initial clinical assessment of vascular injury is aided by readily available imaging techniques such as duplex ultrasonography and high resolution computed tomographic angiography. Conventional catheter based angiography, however, remain the gold standard in the determination of vascular injury. There are limited data examining the outcomes of endovascular techniques to address popliteal arterial injuries. In this review, we examine the imaging modalities and current approaches and data regarding endovascular techniques for the management popliteal arterial trauma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/0301-1526/a000756DOI Listing
January 2019

Goal-directed Hemostatic Resuscitation of Trauma-induced Coagulopathy: A Pragmatic Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing a Viscoelastic Assay to Conventional Coagulation Assays.

Ann Surg 2016 Jun;263(6):1051-9

*Department of Surgery, University of Colorado, Denver, CO†Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO‡Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Denver, CO§Research Laboratory, Bonfils Blood Center, Denver, CO¶Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Denver, CO.

Background: Massive transfusion protocols (MTPs) have become standard of care in the management of bleeding injured patients, yet strategies to guide them vary widely. We conducted a pragmatic, randomized clinical trial (RCT) to test the hypothesis that an MTP goal directed by the viscoelastic assay thrombelastography (TEG) improves survival compared with an MTP guided by conventional coagulation assays (CCA).

Methods: This RCT enrolled injured patients from an academic level-1 trauma center meeting criteria for MTP activation. Upon MTP activation, patients were randomized to be managed either by an MTP goal directed by TEG or by CCA (ie, international normalized ratio, fibrinogen, platelet count). Primary outcome was 28-day survival.

Results: One hundred eleven patients were included in an intent-to-treat analysis (TEG = 56, CCA = 55). Survival in the TEG group was significantly higher than the CCA group (log-rank P = 0.032, Wilcoxon P = 0.027); 20 deaths in the CCA group (36.4%) compared with 11 in the TEG group (19.6%) (P = 0.049). Most deaths occurred within the first 6 hours from arrival (21.8% CCA group vs 7.1% TEG group) (P = 0.032). CCA patients required similar number of red blood cell units as the TEG patients [CCA: 5.0 (2-11), TEG: 4.5 (2-8)] (P = 0.317), but more plasma units [CCA: 2.0 (0-4), TEG: 0.0 (0-3)] (P = 0.022), and more platelets units [CCA: 0.0 (0-1), TEG: 0.0 (0-0)] (P = 0.041) in the first 2 hours of resuscitation.

Conclusions: Utilization of a goal-directed, TEG-guided MTP to resuscitate severely injured patients improves survival compared with an MTP guided by CCA and utilizes less plasma and platelet transfusions during the early phase of resuscitation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SLA.0000000000001608DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432433PMC
June 2016

Traumatic brain injury causes platelet adenosine diphosphate and arachidonic acid receptor inhibition independent of hemorrhagic shock in humans and rats.

J Trauma Acute Care Surg 2014 May;76(5):1169-76

From the W. M Keck Center for Transgene Research (F.J.C., D.L.D., V.P., P.D., M.W.), University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame; and Memorial Hospital of South Bend (S.T., R.Y., E.E., M.W.), Emergency Trauma Center; and Indiana University School of Medicine at Notre Dame Campus (B.F., P.D., M.W.), South Bend, Indiana; Department of Surgery (M.P.C., E.E.M., M.V.W.), University of Colorado; and Department of Surgery (M.P.C., E.E.M., M.V.W.), Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, Colorado; Department of Surgery (M.P.C.), Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, Georgia.

Background: Coagulopathy in traumatic brain injury (CTBI) is a well-established phenomenon, but its mechanism is poorly understood. Various studies implicate protein C activation related to the global insult of hemorrhagic shock or brain tissue factor release with resultant platelet dysfunction and depletion of coagulation factors. We hypothesized that the platelet dysfunction of CTBI is a distinct phenomenon from the coagulopathy following hemorrhagic shock.

Methods: We used thrombelastography with platelet mapping as a measure of platelet function, assessing the degree of inhibition of the adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and arachidonic acid (AA) receptor pathways. First, we studied the early effect of TBI on platelet inhibition by performing thrombelastography with platelet mapping on rats. We then conducted an analysis of admission blood samples from trauma patients with isolated head injury (n = 70). Patients in shock or on clopidogrel or aspirin were excluded.

Results: In rats, ADP receptor inhibition at 15 minutes after injury was 77.6% ± 6.7% versus 39.0% ± 5.3% for controls (p < 0.0001). Humans with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score ≤ 8) showed an increase in ADP receptor inhibition at 93.1% (interquartile range [IQR], 44.8-98.3%; n = 29) compared with 56.5% (IQR, 35-79.1%; n = 41) in milder TBI and 15.5% (IQR, 13.2-29.1%) in controls (p = 0.0014 and p < 0.0001, respectively). No patient had significant hypotension or acidosis. Parallel trends were noted in AA receptor inhibition.

Conclusion: Platelet ADP and AA receptor inhibition is a prominent early feature of CTBI in humans and rats and is linked to the severity of brain injury in patients with isolated head trauma. This phenomenon is observed in the absence of hemorrhagic shock or multisystem injury. Thus, TBI alone is shown to be sufficient to induce a profound platelet dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TA.0000000000000216DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065716PMC
May 2014

Review of influential articles in surgical education: 2002-2012.

J Grad Med Educ 2013 Jun;5(2):219-26

Background: Exploring the trends in surgical education research offers insight into concerns, developments, and questions researchers are exploring that are relevant to teaching and learning in surgical specialties.

Objective: We conducted a review of the surgical education literature published between 2002 and 2012. The purpose was 2-fold: to provide an overview of the most frequently cited articles in the field of surgical education during the last decade and to describe the study designs and themes featured in these articles.

Methods: Articles were identified through Web of Science by using "surgical education" and "English language" as search terms. Using a feature in Web of Science, we tracked the number of citations of any publication. Of the 800 articles produced by the initial search, we initially selected 23 articles with 45 or more citations, and ultimately chose the 20 articles that were most frequently cited for our analysis.

Results: Analysis of the most frequently cited articles published in US journals between the years 2002-2012 identified 7 research themes and presented them in order of frequency with which they appear: use of simulation, issues in student/resident assessment, specialty choice, patient safety, team training, clinical competence assessment, and teaching the clinical sciences, with surgical simulation being the central theme. Researchers primarily used descriptive methods.

Conclusions: Popular themes in surgical education research illuminate the information needs of surgical educators as well as topics of high interest to the surgical community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4300/JGME-05-02-39DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693684PMC
June 2013

Postinjury hyperfibrinogenemia compromises efficacy of heparin-based venous thromboembolism prophylaxis.

Shock 2014 Jan;41(1):33-9

*Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora; †Department of Surgery, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver; ‡Trauma Research Center and §Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora; and ∥Research Department, Bonfils Blood Center, Denver, Colorado.

Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis remains debated following trauma, and recommendations have not been established. Although hyperfibrinogenemia is a marker of proinflammatory states, it also contributes to thrombus formation. Postinjury hyperfibrinogenemia is common, but the effect of hyperfibrinogenemia on VTE prophylaxis has not been fully elucidated. Therefore, we hypothesized that heparin is less effective for VTE prophylaxis following severe injury due to hyperfibrinogenemia.

Methods: In vitro studies evaluated thromboelastography (TEG) parameters in 10 healthy volunteers after the addition of fibrinogen concentrate and heparin. Data from a recent randomized controlled trial, conducted at an academic level I trauma center surgical intensive care unit, were reviewed. Critically injured patients were randomized to standard VTE prophylaxis (5,000 U low-molecular-weight heparin daily) or TEG-guided prophylaxis (up to 10,000 U low-molecular-weight heparin daily) and were followed up for 5 days. Analysis was performed to evaluate the relationship between fibrinogen levels, measures of anticoagulation, and TEG parameters.

Results: In vitro studies revealed increased fibrinogen reversed the effects of heparin as measured by TEG. Fifty patients were enrolled in the clinical study with 25 in each arm. Thromboelastography parameters, fibrinogen, platelet count, and anti-Xa levels did not differ between groups despite treatment provided. Fibrinogen levels increased over the 5-day study period (597 ± 24.0 to 689.3 ± 25.0), as well as clot strength (9.8 ± 0.4 to 14.5 ± 0.6), which had a significant correlation coefficient (P < 0.01). Moreover, there was a moderate inverse correlation between fibrinogen level and the effect of heparin (RF), which was significant on study days 1 and 3, implicating hyperfibrinogenemia in heparin resistance.

Conclusions: Hypercoagulability and heparin resistance are common following trauma. The preclinical and clinical relationships between fibrinogen levels and hypercoagulability implicate hyperfibrinogenemia as a potential factor in heparin resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SHK.0000000000000067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3902785PMC
January 2014

Platelets are dominant contributors to hypercoagulability after injury.

J Trauma Acute Care Surg 2013 Mar;74(3):756-62; discussion 762-5

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

Background: Venous thromboembolic (VTE) disease has a high incidence following trauma, but debate remains regarding optimal prophylaxis. Thrombelastography (TEG) has been suggested to be optimal in guiding prophylaxis. Thus, we designed a phase II randomized controlled trial to test the hypothesis that TEG-guided prophylaxis with escalating low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH), followed by antiplatelet therapy would reduce VTE incidence.

Methods: Surgical intensive care unit trauma patients (n = 50) were randomized to receive 5,000 IU of LMWH daily (control) or to TEG-guided prophylaxis, up to 5,000 IU twice daily with the addition of aspirin, and were followed up for 5 days. In vitro studies were also conducted in which apheresis platelets were added to blood from healthy volunteers (n = 10).

Results: Control (n = 25) and TEG-guided prophylaxis (n = 25) groups were similar in age, body mass index, Injury Severity Score, and male sex. Fibrinogen levels and platelet counts did not differ, and increased LMWH did not affect clot strength between the control and study groups. The correlation of clot strength (G value) with fibrinogen was stronger on Days 1 and 2 but was superseded by platelet count on Days 3, 4, and 5. There was also a trend in increased platelet contribution to clot strength in patients receiving increased LMWH. In vitro studies demonstrated apheresis platelets significantly increased clot strength (7.19 ± 0.35 to 10.34 ± 0.29), as well as thrombus generation (713.86 ± 12.19 to 814.42 ± 7.97) and fibrin production (274.03 ± 15.82 to 427.95 ± 16.58).

Conclusion: Increased LMWH seemed to increase platelet contribution to clot strength early in the study but failed to affect the overall rise clot strength. Over time, platelet count had the strongest correlation with clot strength, and in vitro studies demonstrated that increased platelet counts increase fibrin production and thrombus generation. In sum, these data suggest an important role for antiplatelet therapy in VTE prophylaxis following trauma, particularly after 48 hours.

Level Of Evidence: Therapeutic study, level III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TA.0b013e3182826d7eDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736746PMC
March 2013

Intraductal oncocytic papillary neoplasm of the pancreas: report of a case requiring completion pancreatectomy.

JOP 2013 Jan 10;14(1):77-80. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Section of GI, Tumor and Endocrine Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

Context: Cystic tumors of the pancreas have been diagnosed with increasing frequency. Intraductal oncocytic papillary neoplasm is a rare type of cystic pancreatic tumor. Intraductal oncocytic papillary neoplasm is considered a distinct entity with the potential of developing into invasive carcinoma and it should be differentiated from other cystic tumors of the pancreas, including mucinous cystic neoplasm and other forms of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN). Histologically, the formation of oncocytic cells and the complex morphology of the papillae distinguish intraductal oncocytic papillary neoplasm from IPMN. While the number of publications addressing the diagnosis, management and follow-up of patients with IPMN has been increasing, the behavior differences between IPMN and intraductal oncocytic papillary neoplasm have not been elucidated, secondary to very limited clinical experience.

Case Report: Here, we are presenting a case of a patient with the diagnosis of intraductal oncocytic papillary neoplasm of the pancreas developing into invasive cancer.

Conclusion: This case stresses the necessity for lifelong surveillance of the remnant pancreas following partial pancreatectomy for intraductal oncocytic papillary neoplasm, due to the risk of developing multifocal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6092/1590-8577/1259DOI Listing
January 2013

Antiplatelet therapy is associated with decreased transfusion-associated risk of lung dysfunction, multiple organ failure, and mortality in trauma patients.

Crit Care Med 2013 Feb;41(2):399-404

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

Objective: To determine whether prehospital antiplatelet therapy was associated with reduced incidence of acute lung dysfunction, multiple organ failure, and mortality in blunt trauma patients.

Design: Secondary analysis of a cohort enrolled in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Trauma Glue Grant database.

Setting: Multicenter study including nine U.S. level-1 trauma centers.

Patients: A total of 839 severely injured blunt trauma patients at risk for multiple organ failure (age > 45 yr, base deficit > 6 mEq/L or systolic blood pressure < 90 mm Hg, who received a blood transfusion). Severe/isolated head injuries were excluded.

Measurements And Main Results: Primary outcomes were lung dysfunction (defined as grades 2-3 by the Denver multiple organ failure score), multiple organ failure (Denver multiple organ failure score >3), and mortality. Patients were documented as on antiplatelet therapy if taking acetylsalicylic acid, clopidogrel, and/or ticlopidine. Fifteen percent were taking antiplatelet therapy prior to injury. Median injury severity score was 30 (interquartile range 22-51), mean age 61 + 0.4 yr and median RBCs volume transfused was 1700 mL (interquartile range 800-3150 mL). Overall, 63% developed lung dysfunction, 19% had multiple organ failure, and 21% died. After adjustment for age, gender, comorbidities, blood products, crystalloid/12 hrs, presence of any head injury, injury severity score, and 12 hrs base deficit > 8 mEq/L, 12 hrs RBC transfusion was associated with a significantly smaller risk of lung dysfunction and multiple organ failure among the group receiving antiplatelet therapy compared with those not receiving it (lung dysfunction p = 0.0116, multiple organ failure p = 0.0291). In addition, antiplatelet therapy had a smaller risk (albeit not significant, p = 0.06) of death for patients receiving RBC compared to those not on antiplatelet therapy after adjustment for confounders,

Conclusions: Pre-injury antiplatelet therapy is associated with a decreased risk of lung dysfunction, multiple organ failure, and possibly mortality in high-risk blunt trauma patients who received blood transfusions. These findings suggest platelets have a role in organ dysfunction development and have potential therapeutic implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0b013e31826ab38bDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3557727PMC
February 2013

Revisiting early postinjury mortality: are they bleeding because they are dying or dying because they are bleeding?

J Surg Res 2013 Jan 6;179(1):5-9. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

Background: Intense debate continues in the search of the optimal ratio of blood components to deliver preemptively in the critically injured patient anticipated to require a massive transfusion. A major challenge is distinguishing patients with refractory coagulopathy versus those with overwhelming injuries who will perish irrespective of blood component administration. The hypothesis of this clinical study is that a predominant number of early deaths from hemorrhage are irretrievable despite an aggressive transfusion policy.

Materials And Methods: During the 7-y period ending in December 2009, there were 772 in-hospital trauma deaths. Each of these deaths had been assigned a cause of death via concurrent review by the multidisciplinary hospital trauma quality improvement committee. Emergency department deaths and patients arriving from outside facilities were excluded from this study.

Results: Of the 382 patients (49.5% of total) who died secondary to acute blood loss, 84 (22.0%) survived beyond the ED; of these 84, 68 (81%) were male, mean age was 31 y, and 30 (36%) sustained blunt trauma. Cause of death was determined to be exsanguination in 63 (75%), coagulopathy in 13 (15%), metabolic failure in 5 (6%), and indeterminate in 3 patients (4%).

Conclusion: These data indicate that 75% of patients who succumb to postinjury acute blood loss are bleeding because they are dying rather than dying because they are bleeding. Conversely, only 13 (2%) of the hospital deaths were attributed to refractory coagulopathy. These critical facts need to be considered in designing studies to determine optimal massive transfusion protocols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2012.05.054DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4203315PMC
January 2013

Synchronous presentation of ampullary adenocarcinoma and common bile duct cancer: report of a case and review of literature.

JOP 2012 Sep 10;13(5):536-9. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Section of GI, Tumor and Endocrine Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

Context: Ampullary adenocarcinomas and bile duct cancers represent a very small minority of all gastrointestinal malignancies. Synchronous presentation of both malignancies is extremely rare.

Case Report: We report a case of a 76-year-old male who presented with painless jaundice. His work-up showed an ampullary mass and a separate common bile duct stricture. Attempted endoscopic resection established the diagnosis of ampullary adenocarcinoma. Pathologic examination of the Whipple specimen identified a separate focus of bile duct cancer.

Conclusion: Synchronous presentation of an ampullary mass and separate distal bile duct stricture, especially in elderly patients, should raise concern for both lesions representing malignancies. In the absence of conclusive evidence for survival advantage in resected early stage ampullary and biliary cancers, close observation should be considered a valid alternative to adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6092/1590-8577/836DOI Listing
September 2012

Direct blood transfusions.

J Vasc Surg 2012 Oct 25;56(4):1173-7. Epub 2012 Aug 25.

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2012.04.072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4065715PMC
October 2012

Platelet dysfunction is an early marker for traumatic brain injury-induced coagulopathy.

Neurocrit Care 2013 Apr;18(2):201-8

W. M. Keck Center for Transgene Research, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA.

Background: The goal of this study is to determine the presence of platelet dysfunction in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The mechanisms underlying the coagulopathy associated with TBI remain elusive. The question of platelet dysfunction in TBI is unclear.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study conducted at Memorial Hospital of South Bend, IN, and Denver Health Medical Center, CO. A total of 50 patients sustaining TBI, and not under treatment with anticoagulants or platelet inhibitors, were analyzed utilizing modified thromboelastography (TEG) with platelet mapping (TEG/PM), along with standard coagulation tests.

Results: Compared to normal controls, patients with severe TBI had a significantly increased percentage of platelet ADP and arachidonic acid (AA) receptor inhibition. Furthermore, the percentage of ADP inhibition distinguished between survivors and non-survivors in patients with TBI (Mann-Whitney test, P = 0.035). ADP inhibition correlates strongly with severity of TBI (Mann-Whitney test, P = 0.014), while AA inhibition did not.

Conclusion: These data indicate that early platelet dysfunction is prevalent after severe TBI, can be measured in a point-of-care setting using TEG/PM, and correlates with mortality. The mechanism responsible for this platelet dysfunction and associated implications for TBI management remains to be defined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12028-012-9745-6DOI Listing
April 2013

Isoflurane prevents acute lung injury through ADP-mediated platelet inhibition.

Surgery 2012 Aug;152(2):270-6

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO, USA.

Background: Growing evidence suggests platelets are essential in posttraumatic, acute lung injury (ALI). Halogenated ethers interfere with the formation of platelet-granulocyte aggregates. The potential benefit of halogenated ethers has not been investigated in models of trauma/hemorrhagic shock (T/HS). Therefore, we hypothesized that isoflurane decreases T/HS-mediated ALI through platelet inhibition.

Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 47) were anesthetized by either pentobarbital or inhaled isoflurane and placed into (1) control, (2) trauma (laparotomy) sham shock, (3) T/HS (mean arterial pressure, 30 mmHg × 45 min), (4) pretreatment with an ADP receptor antagonist, or (5) T/HS with isoflurane initiated during resuscitation groups. ALI was determined by protein and pulmonary immunofluorescence bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. Platelet Mapping specifically evaluated thrombin-independent inhibition of the ADP and AA pathways of platelet activation.

Results: Pretreatment with isoflurane abrogated ALI as measured by both BAL fluid protein and pulmonary immunofluorescence (P < .001). Platelet Mapping revealed specific inhibition of the platelet ADP-pathway with isoflurane (P < .001). Pretreatment with an ADP receptor antagonist decreased ALI to sham levels, confirming that specific platelet ADP inhibition decreases ALI. Isoflurane initiated during resuscitation also decreased ALI (P < .001).

Conclusion: Isoflurane attenuates ALI through an antiplatelet mechanism, in part, through inhibition of the platelet ADP pathway. Isoflurane given postinjury also protects against ALI, and highlights the potential applications of this therapy in various clinical scenarios of ischemia/reperfusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.surg.2012.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3419262PMC
August 2012

Effect of damage control surgery on major abdominal vascular trauma.

J Surg Res 2012 Oct 24;177(2):320-5. Epub 2012 May 24.

University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA.

Background: In 1982, we reported our experience with abdominal vascular trauma, highlighting the critical role of hypothermia, acidosis, and coagulopathy. Damage control surgery was subsequently introduced to address this "lethal triad." The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the outcomes from our most recent 6-year experience compared with a cohort from 30 years ago.

Methods: Patients with major abdominal vascular injuries were examined, and the most recent 6-year period was compared with archived data from a similar 6-year period three decades ago.

Results: The number of patients with major abdominal vascular injuries decreased from 123 patients in 1975 to 1980 to 64 patients in 2004 to 2009. The mean initial pH decreased from 7.21 to 6.96 (1975 to 1980 versus 2004 to 2009) for patients with overt coagulopathy. Despite increasingly protracted acidosis, mortality attributable to refractory coagulopathy decreased from 46% to 19% (1975 to 1980 versus 2004 to 2009, chi-square = 4.36, P = 0.04). No significant difference was found in mortality from exsanguinating injuries (43% versus 62%, 1975 to 1980 versus 2004 to 2009, chi-square = 1.96, P = 0.16). The prehospital transport times were unchanged (22 versus 20 min, 1975 to 1980 versus 2004 to 2009). Despite the administration of additional clotting factors and the advent of damage control surgery, the overall mortality remained largely unchanged (37% versus 33%, 1975 to 1980 versus 2004 to 2009, chi-square = 0.385, P = 0.53).

Conclusions: The adoption of damage control surgery, including the implementation of a massive transfusion protocol, was associated with a reduction in mortality for abdominal vascular injuries due to coagulopathy; however, patients have continued to die of exsanguination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2012.05.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3438314PMC
October 2012

Early platelet dysfunction: an unrecognized role in the acute coagulopathy of trauma.

J Am Coll Surg 2012 May;214(5):739-46

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO, USA.

Background: Our aim was to determine the prevalence of platelet dysfunction using an end point of assembly into a stable thrombus after severe injury. Although the current debate on acute traumatic coagulopathy has focused on the consumption or inhibition of coagulation factors, the question of early platelet dysfunction in this setting remains unclear.

Study Design: Prospective platelet function in assembly and stability of the thrombus was determined within 30 minutes of injury using whole blood samples from trauma patients at the point of care using thrombelastography-based platelet functional analysis.

Results: There were 51 patients in the study. There were significant differences in the platelet response between trauma patients and healthy volunteers, such that there was impaired aggregation to these agonists. In trauma patients, the median ADP inhibition of platelet function was 86.1% (interquartile range [IQR] 38.6% to 97.7%) compared with 4.2 % (IQR 0 to 18.2%) in healthy volunteers. After trauma, the impairment of platelet function in response to arachidonic acid was 44.9% (IQR 26.6% to 59.3%) compared with 0.5% (IQR 0 to 3.02%) in volunteers (Wilcoxon nonparametric test, p < 0.0001 for both tests).

Conclusions: In this study, we show that platelet dysfunction is manifest after major trauma and before substantial fluid or blood administration. These data suggest a potential role for early platelet transfusion in severely injured patients at risk for postinjury coagulopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2012.01.050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3348700PMC
May 2012

The 5-lipoxygenase pathway is required for acute lung injury following hemorrhagic shock.

Shock 2012 Jun;37(6):599-604

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado 80204, USA.

The cellular and biochemical mechanisms leading to acute lung injury (ALI) and subsequent multiple organ failure are only partially understood. To study the potential role of eicosanoids, particularly leukotrienes, as possible mediators of ALI, we used a murine experimental model of ALI induced by hemorrhagic shock after blood removal via cardiac puncture. Neutrophil sequestration, as shown by immunofluorescence and protein leakage into the alveolar space were measured as markers of injury. We used liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry to unequivocally identify several eicosanoids in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of experimental animals. MK886, a specific inhibitor of the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) pathway, and transgenic mice deficient in 5-LO were used to determine the role of this enzymatic pathway in this model. Leukotriene B4 and leukotriene C4 were consistently elevated in shock-treated mice compared with sham-treated mice. MK886 attenuated neutrophil infiltration and protein extravasation induced by hemorrhagic shock. 5-Lipoxygenase-deficient mice showed reduced neutrophil infiltration and protein extravasation after shock treatment, indicating greatly reduced lung injury. These results support the hypothesis that 5-LO, most likely through the generation of leukotrienes, plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ALI induced by hemorrhagic shock in mice. This pathway could represent a new target for pharmacological intervention to reduce lung damage following severe primary injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SHK.0b013e31824ee7bcDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3357208PMC
June 2012

The patient handoff: a comprehensive curricular blueprint for resident education to improve continuity of care.

Acad Med 2012 Apr;87(4):411-8

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.

In 2010, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education released its resident duty hours restrictions, requiring that faculty monitor their residents' patient handoffs to ensure that residents are competent in handoff communications. Although studies have reported the need to improve the effectiveness of the handoff and a variety of curricula have been suggested and implemented, a common method for teaching and evaluating handoff skills has not been developed. Also in 2010, engineers, informaticians, and physicians interested in patient handoffs attended a symposium in Savannah, Georgia, hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery, entitled Handovers and Handoffs: Collaborating in Turns. As a result of this symposium, a workgroup formed to develop practical and readily implementable educational materials for medical educators involved in teaching patient handoffs to residents. In this article, the result of that yearlong collaboration, the authors aim to provide clarity on the definition of the patient handoff, to review the barriers to performing effective handoffs in academic health centers, to identify available solutions to improve handoffs, and to provide a structured approach to educating residents on handoffs via a curricular blueprint. The authors' blueprint was developed to guide educators in customizing handoff education programs to fit their specific, local needs. Hopefully, it also will provide a starting point for future research into improving the patient handoff. Increasingly complex patient care environments require both innovations in handoff education and improvements in patient care systems to improve continuity of care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0b013e318248e766DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3409830PMC
April 2012

Acute kidney injury and posttrauma multiple organ failure: the canary in the coal mine.

J Trauma Acute Care Surg 2012 Feb;72(2):373-8; discussion 379-80

Department of Surgery, University of Colorado-Denver, CO 80204, USA.

Background: Despite improved resuscitation strategies, acute kidney injury (AKI) remains an important cause of morbidity and high resource use among severely injured patients. Thus, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the epidemiology and outcomes of early AKI among severely injured patients as well as its impact on the development of postinjury multiple organ failure (MOF).

Methods: We queried our 17-year database of high-risk postinjury patients (Injury Severity Score >15, age >15 years, survival >48 hours, and no isolated head injury). MOF and AKI (creatinine >1.8 mg/dL) were defined by the Denver MOF score. Patients with documented preexisting renal, hepatic, cardiac, or pulmonary disease (120, 5%) were excluded, leaving 2157 for analysis.

Results: Early (day 2) AKI was evident in 2.13% of the patients and associated with a 78% MOF incidence and 27% mortality. Both rates were higher than those associated with early heart, lung, or liver failure.

Conclusion: Early AKI is a harbinger of adverse outcome postinjury, outperforming hepatic, cardiac, or pulmonary dysfunction as a predictor of MOF and death. Prevention of early AKI and a better understanding of organ crosstalk may help reduce AKI-associated morbidity, mortality, and obligatory costs of this complication.

Level Of Evidence: I, prognostic study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/TA.0b013e318244869bDOI Listing
February 2012

Sanctity and organ donation's societal value.

Bull Am Coll Surg 2012 Jan;97(1):12-23

Jewish Hosital, KY, USA.

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January 2012
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