Nitric oxide as an indicator for severity of injury in polytrauma
Bratislava Medical Journal
BACKGROUND: Patients with injuries to multiple organs or organ systems are in a serious risk of shock, multiorgan failure and death. Although there are scoring systems available to assess the extent of polytrauma and guide the prognosis, their usefulness is limited by their considerably subjective nature. As the production of nitric oxide (NO) by many cell types is elevated in tissue injury, we hypothesized that serum concentration of NO (and its oxidation products, NOx) represents a suitable
... esents a suitable marker of polytrauma correlating with prognosis. We wanted to prove that nitric oxide could serve as an indicator for severity of injury in polytrauma. METHODS: We measured serum NOx and standard biochemical parameters in 93 patients with various degrees of polytrauma, 15 patients with minor injuries and 20 healthy volunteers. RESULTS: On admission, serum NOx was higher in patients with moderate polytrauma than both in controls and patients with minor injury, and it was even higher in patients with severe polytrauma. Surprisingly, NOx on admission was normal in the group of patients that required cardiopulmonary resuscitation or died within 48 hours after admission. In the groups, where it was elevated on admission, serum NOx dropped to normal values within 12 hours. Blood lactate levels on admission were elevated in proportion to the severity of subsequent clinical course. CONCLUSION: Elevated serum NOx and blood lactate in patients with polytrauma are markers of serious clinical course, while normal NOx combined with a very high lactate may signal a fatal prognosis (Fig. 4, Ref. 8) . Text in PDF www.elis.sk.