Trauma is the leading cause of death among children, adolescents, and young adults in the United States; it is the second most common single cause of death worldwide. Those who survive trauma suffer the physical and psychological consequences of injury, which have an enormous impact on patients, their families, and society. Although few anesthesiologists care exclusively for trauma patients, most will care for trauma patients at one time or another in their clinical practice. These encounters usually occur at the end of the day or in the middle of the night and challenge clinicians to expeditiously manage multi-system derangements despite incomplete patient information. Active participation of anesthesiologists in the care of severely injured patients provides the best opportunity for improved outcome. We believe participation should not only include involvement in anesthetic management, but also the initial evaluation, resuscitation, and perioperative care of these patients. Unfortunately, current training does not expose trainees to the entire spectrum of trauma care. Although there are a few textbooks that deal with trauma anesthesia, these books are quite extensive, serve mostly as reference books, and are not meant to be read cover-to-cover. Our intention in creating this text is to provide anesthesiology trainees and practitioners with a concise review of the essential elements in the care of the severely injured patient and to emphasize the role of anesthesiologists in all aspects of trauma care: from time of injury until the patient leaves the critical care areas of the facility. Although a textbook of this size cannot give exhaustive coverage of all issues, we attempt to provide a review of the most important aspects of trauma care from the anesthesiologist’s perspective. We also try to identify new trends in surgery and anesthesiology practices that impact on the management of trauma patients.
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