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Test provides earlier detection of potential fatality risks

Category: General Health

Crisis events can put people at risk for things like shock and post-traumatic stress issues.

Crisis events can put people at risk for things like shock and post-traumatic stress issues. These are scenarios that hospital staff and emergency responders are sometimes trained to deal with, but in terms of providing long-term care, there's no immediate way of knowing which patients will need help later on.Researchers have found that a basic blood test can help determine if people coming into the emergency room are at risk of death, and may even be able to isolate which kinds of trauma could prove most dangerous to their overall health.

Intermountain Medical Center announced that using a basic blood testing procedure similar to those already administered in emergency rooms may detect which incoming cases are most likely to die within a year after trauma. The procedures, called complete blood count (CBC) and basic metabolic profile (BMP), indicate the overall wellbeing of an individual and are generally used to detect basic health problems in patients. However, when compared to age, gender and several other factors, these blood levels can actually indicate whether a person is at high risk for a serious medical crisis.

"The results were very surprising," said Sarah Majercik, one of the researchers involved in the study. She explained that basic blood testing looks at a number of different factors like hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell distribution and platelet counts that indicate general information about a person's current state. These numbers also show if someone may have internal bleeding at a different site, be suffering from another medical condition or have an infection that could pose a health risk just after a serious traumatic event.

Judging the risk factors
Those at the highest risk of death may not display any health problems at first, the research showed. Basic blood testing can indicate underlying problems that can drastically increase the risk of death, researchers stated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are nearly 30 million emergency room visits every year as the result of unintentional accidents including falls, vehicle crashes and poisonings. Any of these traumatic events could cause a patient to present with a fairly normal demeanor, but a simple blood test may be able to help clinicians isolate problems they may have missed otherwise.

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