ICU Management of Trauma Patients

Samuel A. Tisherman, MD, FCCM; Deborah M. Stein, MD, MPH, FCCM


Crit Care Med. 2018;46(12):1991-1997. 

In This Article

Initial Assessment

The initial assessment of the trauma patient has become well standardized by the Advanced Trauma Life Support course of the American College of Surgeons.[7] The assessment begins with the primary survey (airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure/environment) to identify and manage immediately life-threatening injuries. The secondary survey includes a more detailed head to toe examination of the patient along with appropriate radiographic studies. As this assessment may be truncated for management of immediately life-threatening injuries, the ICU team often needs to complete the assessment and document all interventions and findings. This "tertiary survey" is critical for avoiding missed injuries.[8–11]