Original Article

Prehospital ABC Score Accurately Forecasts Patients Who Will Require Immediate Resource Utilization

Authors: Kyle J. Kalkwarf, MD, Michael D. Goodman, MD, Gregory M. Press, MD, Charles E. Wade, PhD, Bryan A. Cotton, MD, MPH


Objectives: Scoring systems, such as the Assessment of Blood Consumption (ABC) Score, are used to identify patients at risk for massive transfusion (MT, ≥10 U red blood cells in 24 hours). Our aeromedical transport helicopter uses ultrasound to perform the Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) examination. Our objective was to evaluate the ability of the Prehospital ABC (PhABC) Score to predict blood transfusions and the need for emergent laparotomy.

Methods: Post hoc analysis of a prospective observational study of trauma patients who underwent an in-flight FAST during aeromedical transport during a 7-month period. PhABC Score was positive if ≥2 of the following were present in flight: penetrating trauma, heart rate >120 bpm, systolic blood pressure <90 mm Hg, or a positive abdominal FAST. The PhABC Score was evaluated by area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curves and logistic regression.

Results: A total of 291 trauma patients met inclusion criteria, 23 underwent emergent laparotomy, and 12 received an MT. A positive PhABC Score predicted emergent laparotomy, with a positive predictive value of 48% and a negative predictive value of 95% (sensitivity 46%, specificity 96%, AUROC curve 0.83). A positive PhABC Score also predicted receipt of an MT with a positive predictive value of 28% and a negative predictive value of 94% (sensitivity 33%, specificity 93%, AUROC curve 0.77). Multiple logistic regression identified FAST as the most powerful contributor of the PhABC Score to the prediction of both emergent laparotomy (odds ratio 8.5, P < 0.001) and MT (odds ratio 5.9, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The PhABC Score effectively predicts in-hospital resource utilization. It provides an outstanding undertriage rate from the prehospital setting, and it is helpful to improve trauma team activation, mobilize blood products, and prepare the operating room.

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