Controversies in the prehospital management of major trauma

Paul E. Pepe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Many traditional therapies in the prehospital management of major trauma may be of little value or may be even harmful. Little scientific evidence exists to support the use of the pneumatic antishock garment, and some studies have shown it to worsen outcome. The traditional role of intravenous fluid resuscitation also has been questioned and, in situations such as penetrating truncal trauma, it may be associated with comparatively worse outcomes. Although some infusion may be appropriate in severe haemorrhage, the clear priority in such patients is evacuation to definitive surgical intervention. Airway control and establishment of intravenous access are recommended en route. Endotracheal intubation may be capable of prolonging the ability to tolerate circulatory arrest, but overzealous ventilation may further compromise cardiac output where there is severe haemodynamic instability. If these procedures delay patient transport, any benefit they may offer could be outweighed by delaying definitive care. Many of the paradigms of prehospital trauma care should be reconsidered and carefully evaluated in future randomized controlled trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
JournalEmergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Antishock garment.
  • Intravenous fluid resuscitation.
  • Prehospital care.
  • Trauma injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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