Western Trauma Association Algorithms
The Western Trauma Association Critical Decisions in Trauma ad hoc committee was born out of a call for evidence based care by our Past Presidents to aid the clinician at the point of care with a tool that could be easily accessed and implemented.1
An algorithm is an illustration of a series of medical decisions that address certain patient specific conditions outlining appropriate responses intended to lead to an outcome.2, 3 The goals of an algorithm are to identify diagnostic alternatives, treatment options, and outcomes by weighing decision benefits against risks and costs. A primary benefit of a well – developed algorithm is that it focuses the reader on the critical decision points in any clinical scenario and specifically lists the input data that leads to a decision. Algorithms can be applied to specific problems, processes, or diseases. They allow for evolution of a disease related topic with new information or clinical conditions that may affect decision making later in the time course of a situation. They can convey the scope of a clinical condition from presentation, through testing and assessment, followed by a clinical judgment and action leading to an eventual outcome. Annotations are added to appropriate points on the algorithm and are necessary for all decision nodes. The purpose of the annotation is to explain all critical factors affecting decisions in as concise a manner as possible. The primary advantage of an algorithm is that it can summarize an evidence based guideline into an easily and quickly available practice protocol for use in the clinical care setting. The Western Trauma Association has played a significant role in guiding the practice of trauma surgery based on sound scientific evidence through publication of its multi-center trials.4-8 High quality practice algorithms will further serve the trauma community by an efficient review of current recommendations in trauma decision making.
3. Moore E,
Eiseman B, Van Way C. Critical Decisions in Trauma: Mosby,
5. Cogbill T, CC
C, MK A, et al. Management of severe hemorrhage asscoaited
with maxillofacial injuries: A multicenter perspective. J
Trauma 2008; 65:994-999.
6. Karmy-Jones R,
Nathens A, Jurkovich GJ, et al. Urgent and emergent
thoracotomy for penetrating chest trauma. J Trauma 2004;
56(3):664-8; discussion 668-9.
7. Livingston DH,
Lavery RF, Mosenthal AC, et al. Recovery at one year
following isolated traumatic brain injury: a Western Trauma
Association prospective multicenter trial. J Trauma 2005;
59(6):1298-304; discussion 1304.
8. Rozycki GS,
Knudson MM, Shackford SR, Dicker R. Surgeon-performed
bedside organ assessment with sonography after trauma
(BOAST): a pilot study from the WTA Multicenter Group. J
Trauma 2005; 59(6):1356-64.
ALGORITHMS AVAILABLE ONLINE
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