Early coagulopathy predicts mortality in trauma

Jana B.A. MacLeod, Mauricio Lynn, Mark G. McKenney, Stephen M. Cohn, Mary Murtha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

779 Scopus citations


Background:Coagulopathy and hemorrhage are known contributors to trauma mortality; however, the actual relationship of prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT) to mortality is unknown. Our objective was to measure the predictive value of the initial coagulopathy profile for trauma-related mortality.Methods:We reviewed prospectively collected data on trauma patients presenting to a Level I trauma center. A logistic regression analysis was performed of PT, PTT, platelet count, and confounders to determine whether coagulopathy is a predictor of all-cause mortality.Results:From a trauma registry cohort of 20,103 patients, 14,397 had complete disposition data for initial analysis and 7,638 had complete data for all variables in the final analysis. The total cohort was 76.2% male, the mean age was 38 years (range, 1-108 years), and the median Injury Severity Score was 9. There were 1,276 deaths (all-cause mortality, 8.9%). The prevalence of coagulopathy early in the postinjury period was substantial, with 28% of patients having an abnormal PT (2,994 of 10,790) and 8% of patients having an abnormal PTT (826 of 10,453) on arrival at the trauma bay. In patients with disposition data and a normal PT, 489 of 7,796 died, as compared with 579 of 2,994 with an abnormal PT (6.3% vs. 19.3%; Χ2 = 414.1, p < 0.001). Univariate analysis generated an odds ratio of 3.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.15-4.08; p < 0.0001) for death with abnormal PT and 7.81 (95% CI, 6.65-9.17; p < 0.001) for deaths with an abnormal PTT. The PT and PTT remained independent predictors of mortality in a multiple regression model, whereas platelet count did not. The model also included the independent risk factors age, Injury Severity Score, scene and trauma-bay blood pressure, hematocrit, base deficit, and head injury. The model generated an adjusted odds ratio of 1.35 for PT (95% CI, 1.11-1.68; p < 0.001) and 4.26 for PTT (95% CI, 3.23-5.63; p < 0.001).Conclusion:The incidence of coagulation abnormalities, early after trauma, is high and they are independent predictors of mortality even in the presence of other risk factors. An initial abnormal PT increases the adjusted odds of dying by 35% and an initial abnormal PTT increases the adjusted odds of dying by 326%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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