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3 Damage control surgery in a regional trauma centre – defining the population: a pilot study
  1. Matthew J Burton
  1. Surgeon Lieutenant, Royal Navy


Introduction Trauma has a major disease burden, by causing physiological disruption.1 Damage Control Surgery (DCS) minimises physiological disruption.2 3 The demographics of patients who undergo DCS surgery within our institution are unknown. This study aims to characterise our DCS cohort and potential for prospective study.

Methods Our hospital has a DCS protocol.4 This ensures the appropriate patients are safely and promptly transferred to a prepared operating theatre. All ORSOS data were captured from Nov 2017 – Sep 2019. Data was reviewed, and demographics analysed.

Results The DCS protocol was put on stand-by 42 times and activated in 21. Patient data was held for 38 cases, 30 male and 8 female, median age 37 years.

Median Injury Severity Score was 29, with patients sustaining injuries from a range of mechanisms, figure 1. Median inpatient stay was 12 days, with a 29% 30-day mortality.

Together this shows that despite prompt surgical intervention, a young patient cohort carries a significant mortality.

Conclusions We have established the demographics of those who trigger DCS protocol use in a regional trauma centre. The resultant database enables prospective data collection for future DCS patients. Such data will afford our region a greater understanding of the DCS population.


  1. Polinder S, Haagsma JA, Toet H, van Beeck EF. Epidemiological burden of minor, major and fatal trauma in a national injury pyramid. British journal of surgery 2012 Jan;99(S1):114–20.

  2. Schreiber MA. Damage control surgery. Critical Care Clinics 2004 Jan 1;20(1):101–18.

  3. Rotondo MF, Schwab CW, McGonigal MD, Fruchterman TM, Kauder DR, Latenser BA, Angood PA. ‘Damage control’: an approach for improved survival in exsanguinating penetrating abdominal injury. The Journal of Trauma 1993 Sep;35(3):375–82.

  4. Moor P, Droog S, Adams S. Damage Control Surgery (Online). Peninsula Trauma Network. University Hospital Plymouth. 2016 Feb [2019 December]. Available from:

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