Brandt M, Liccardi C, Heidle J, Woods TD, White C, Mullins JR, Blackwell J, Le L, Brantley K. Ahead of Print. (Journal Article)
Background: Recent data published by the Special Operations community suggest the Lethal Triad of Trauma should be changed to the Lethal Diamond, to include coagulopathy, acidosis, hypothermia, and hypocalcemia. The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of trauma-induced hypocalcemia in level I and II trauma patients. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study conducted at a level I trauma center and Special Operations Combat Medic (SOCM) training site. Adult patients were identified via trauma services registry from September 2021 to April 2022. Patients who received blood products prior to emergency department (ED) arrival were excluded from the study. Ionized calcium levels were utilized in this study. Results: Of the 408 patients screened, 370 were included in the final analysis of this cohort. Hypocalcemia was noted in 189 (51%) patients, with severe hypocalcemia identified in two (<1%) patients. Thirty-two (11.2%) patients had elevated international normalized ratio (INR), 34 (23%) patients had pH <7.36, 21 (8%) patients had elevated lactic acid, and 9 (2.5%) patients had a temperature of <35°C. Conclusion: Hypocalcemia was prevalent in half of the trauma patients in this cohort. The administration of a calcium supplement empirically in trauma patients from the prehospital environment and prior to blood transfusion is not recommended until further data prove it beneficial.
Keywords: hypocalcemia; trauma; ionized calcium; Diamond of Death; lethal triad