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December 1988

Whole-Body Inflammation in Trauma PatientsAn Autopsy Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of General Surgery (Drs Nuytinck, Offermans, and Goris) and Pathology (Dr Kubat), University Hospital St Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Dr Nuytinck is now with St Ignatius Hospital, Breda, the Netherlands.

Arch Surg. 1988;123(12):1519-1524. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400360089016

• In a review of autopsy specimens and reports in 35 trauma cases, we found signs of generalized inflammation and tissue damage with increases in organ weights in organs not primarily injured. These abnormalities occurred independent of the time of death and were also found in patients who died of brain injury alone. The most pronounced signs of inflammation and increases in organ weights were found when the adult respiratory distress syndrome, hypovolemic shock, or multiple organ failure were the causes of death. These findings are similar to those found in several organs of rabbits after four hours of complement activation in combination with 20 minutes of hypoxia. Therefore, the autopsy findings in this series of trauma patients might represent the morphologic features of adult respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure in an early, preclinical stage.

(Arch Surg 1988;123:1519-1524)