The initial assessment and management of seriously injured patients is a challenging task and requires a rapid and systematic approach.
The aim of good trauma care is to prevent early trauma mortality. Early trauma deaths may occur because of failure of oxygenation of vital organs or central nervous system injury, or both.
This systematic approach can be practiced to increase speed and accuracy of the process but good clinical judgment is also required. Although described in sequence, some of the steps will be taken simultaneously.
Emergency Trauma Assessment
Airway – it is the first priority. Assess it by determining the ability of air to pass unobstructed into the lungs.
Breathing – to determine patient ability to ventilate and oxygenate.
Circulation – to identify hypovolemia, cardiac tamponade, and external sources of hemorrhage.
Disability – can be determine by performing gross mental status and motor examinations.
Examine – check the pupils for size, symmetry, and reactiveness to light
Fahrenheit – check patient exposure and control of the immediate environment.
Head to Toe Assessment – remove patient clothes completely for a thorough physical examination.
Intervention – initiate treatment.