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Interdisciplinary team develops guidelines for treating severely injured patients

If someone is injured in an automobile collision or is severely burned, emergency room physicians across the country would probably take similar steps to stabilize each condition. But subsequent treatment in the intensive care unit or operating room is less well established and may vary significantly.

That is likely to change based on the work of an interdisciplinary team of dozens of scientists and physicians funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Drawing from the best available evidence, the team is developing a series of standard procedures for the care of severely injured patients. The guidelines will describe how to implement the most successful treatment protocols in the clinic and will include summaries of each procedure ready to print on 3-by-5 index cards for quick bedside reference.

The team's first article--on mechanical ventilation--appeared in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. Planned future topics will cover resuscitation, prevention and treatment of venous blood clots, diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, blood sugar control, nutritional support, transfusion thresholds, and sedation. The team chose to cover aspects of care for which practices vary the most and those that have the greatest potential to influence patient outcomes.

The scientific team is part of a collaborative, NIGMS-supported initiative called the Inflammation and Host Response to Injury "glue grant" program. Glue grants bring together scientists with diverse expertise to address major biomedical questions that are beyond the scope of any one research group--in this case, to uncover why patients who experience comparable traumatic injuries can have dramatically different outcomes. This project was launched in 2001 with a 5-year award totaling $37 million.

"This program shows how partnerships between clinical and
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Contact: Kirstie Saltsman
saltsmank@nigms.nih.gov
301-496-7301
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
19-Apr-2006


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