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The Role of the Pneumatic Antishock Garment in Penetrating Cardiac Wounds

Benjamin Honigman, MD; Steven R. Lowenstein, MD, MPH; Ernest E. Moore, MD; Kent Roweder, MD; Peter Pons, MD
JAMA. 1991;266(17):2398-2401. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470170086029.
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Objective.  —To determine the impact of the pneumatic antishock garment on survival in patients with cardiac wounds.

Design.  —A retrospective review of a 6.5-year experience in a population of patients with gunshot or stab wounds to the heart (N = 70).

Setting.  —The city and county of Denver, Colo, where all patients were transported by paramedic ambulances to Denver General Hospital, an urban, level 1 trauma center.

Patients.  —All patients were analyzed, including those transported to the emergency department with no vital signs at the trauma scene. Only patients with definite penetrating cardiac injuries were included.

Methods.  —Paramedic trip sheets and emergency department, operating room, in-hospital, and autopsy records were reviewed. Demographic, clinical outcome, and treatment data were collected. A multiple logistic regression model was developed to determine which characteristics and treatment variables were independently predictive of patient outcome. The ability of each independent variable to predict outcome was determined by calculating adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results.  —Seventy patients (31 gunshot and 39 stab wounds) had a revised trauma score of 2.8 ± 4.0 (mean ± SD; range, 0-12; median, 0). Thirty-two (46%) had cardiac tamponade. Overall, 21 (30%) of the patients survived. In the logistic model, the presence of cardiac tamponade (OR, 9.1; 95% CI, 1.5 to 56.1) and a higher revised trauma score were associated with higher survival. Inflation of the pneumatic antishock garment was associated with sevenfold lower survival (adjusted OR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.86); the effect was negative across all trauma score groups.

Conclusion.  —Survival in patients with penetrating cardiac wounds is highly associated with anatomic and physiologic factors, while application of the pneumatic antishock garment appears to be detrimental.(JAMA. 1991;266:2398-2401)


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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