If someone is injured in an automobile collision or is severely burned, emergency room physicians across the country would probably take similar steps to stabilize each condition. But subsequent treatment in the intensive care unit or operating room is less well established and may vary significantly.

That is likely to change based on the work of an interdisciplinary team of dozens of scientists and physicians funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Drawing from the best available evidence, the team is developing a series of standard procedures for the care of severely injured patients. The guidelines will describe how to implement the most successful treatment protocols in the clinic and will include summaries of each procedure ready to print on 3-by-5 index cards for quick bedside reference.

The team’s first article – on mechanical ventilation – appeared in the September 2005 issue of the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. Planned future topics will cover resuscitation, prevention and treatment of venous blood clots, diagnosis of ventilator-associated pneumonia, blood sugar control, nutritional support, transfusion thresholds, and sedation. The team chose to cover aspects of care for which practices vary the most and those that have the greatest potential to influence patient outcomes.

MEDICA.de; Source: NIH, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)