Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 177-182

The need for a physiological classification of hemorrhagic shock

Department of Surgery, Polokwane-Mankweng Hospitals Complex, UNILIM, Polokwane, Limpopo, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fabrizio Giuseppe Bonanno
Via Collegio di Spagna 1, Bologna 40123
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JETS.JETS_153_19

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Classifications mean to conceptualize in a cluster and rapidly summarize the assessment and management of a clinical scenario. In the specific case of a hemorrhagic shock (HS), a classification should serve the purpose of allowing a rapid clinical assessment of the shock level and the earliest or right timing of source control, possibly also on whether to apply damage control surgery (DCS) strategy or not. ATLS® classification of HS is not sensitive and specific enough to help decision-making in reference to the timing of management, based only on the amount of blood loss that may be or may not rightly estimated, for example, blood loss on the floor in penetrating injuries before theatre. Moreover, it focuses also on other parameters, which are taken singularly, instead of the individual generalized physiological response to hemorrhage, which is the core by definition of the derangement we call “shock.” It is unhelpful, difficult, and impractical to apply as well. A new classification, which may well be called as the “physiological HS classification” or “therapeutic HS classification,” was proposed since 2010, following the new developments on microcirculation and an already going-on sensible praxis among some trauma surgeons. It bases on some physiological considerations such as the significance of fluid-blood resistant hypotension, body natural hemostatic mechanisms, the right definition of shock, and the relevance that hemorrhage-triggered ischemia-reperfusion toxemia and systemic inflammatory response have in critical illness scenarios as secondary insults from ischemia, which is what we mean to prevented with DCS. The key factor remains the persistence of hypotension, following fluid challenge.

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