UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Trauma

Title: Is a systolic blood pressure of 90 the best measure of illness in trauma patients?

Keywords: Trauma, blood pressure, shock index, predictor, mortality (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/8/2024 by Robert Flint, MD
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Traditionally, a systolic blood  pressure (SBP) of 90 has been used as a marker of severe illness in trauma patients. This study looked at a large database and found shock index (SI) and systolic blood pressure were the best predictors of early mortality in trauma patients. 
They found: 

prehospital SI 0.9 and SBP 110,

ED SI 0.9 and SBP 112,


in elderly 

prehospital SI 0.8 SBP 116 

ED SI 0.8 SBP 121 

were the cutoffs to predict early mortality.  
We should rethink our protocols and approach to trauma patients using a higher systolic blood pressure than 90. Also note elderly had a different number than younger trauma patients.


April MD, Fisher AD, Rizzo JA, Wright FL, Winkle JM, Schauer SG. Early Vital Sign Thresholds Associated with 24-Hour Mortality among Trauma Patients: A Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) Study. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2024 Apr 2:1-5. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X24000207. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 38563282.