The treatment of sepsis and other complications in the trauma patient.

D. D. Trunkey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Immediate complications of trauma and shock include right heart failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, coagulopathy, brain edema, small bowel dysfunction, renal failure, and immune dysfunction. Nosocomial infections are also common in trauma patients. These infections are the combined result of a compromised host defense and various iatrogenic risk factors, including the use of percutaneous drainage tubes, malnutrition, the injudicious use of prophylactic antibiotics, and treatment staff hygiene. The use of prophylactic antibiotics appears to be unwarranted in head, maxillofacial, and neck injuries and is debatable in chest and soft-tissue wounds, fractures, and injuries of the peritoneal cavity. The use of antibiotics in small bowel and colon injuries is justified. Antibiotics are necessary in crush or avulsive injuries. Combination antibiotic therapy often results in multiple complications that may compound the patient's problems. Therefore, a single antibiotic with minimal side effects is the therapy of choice in the surgical intensive care unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalClinical therapeutics
Volume12 Suppl B
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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