Brandi Klingerman | July 15, 2018
Trauma, or any kind of severe physical injury, continues to be today’s leading cause of death for people 46 and younger in the United States. In 2007, Dr. Scott Thomas and Dr. Mark Walsh of Memorial Hospital in South Bend were looking for a better way to treat trauma patients who arrived in the emergency room (ER) with excessive bleeding. Their search eventually led to a translational research collaboration with the W. M. Keck Center for Transgene Research at the University of Notre Dame and the development of a new method for treating trauma patients.
Upon arrival to an ER, about 25 to 35 percent of seriously injured trauma patients have excessive bleeding, or coagulopathy, without clotting. Traditionally, coagulopathy could be treated with fluid resuscitation, but Thomas, chief of trauma services for Beacon Health Systems, and Walsh, an ER physician, knew that a blood replacement product – like platelets, plasma, or cryoprecipitate – would be a better treatment option.
However, each patient has individual blood replacement product needs, and there was no standard method for determining those needs in a trauma setting. After speaking with other medical professionals, they realized a machine called the thromboelastogram or TEG, used to test the efficiency of blood coagulation for transplant and cardiac surgery patients, could be used in the ER to look at coagulation profiles.
“This had never been done before,” said Walsh. “From that point, we began to consider how that work could be translated in different ways, but knew we would need a research arm to support this effort.”
Read more here.