eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 13
Clinical research

Red blood cell distribution width in patients with limb, chest and head trauma

Giuseppe Lippi
Chiara Bovo
Ruggero Buonocore
Michele Mitaritonno
Gianfranco Cervellin

Arch Med Sci 2017; 13, 3: 606–611
Online publish date: 2017/04/20
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Introduction: This study investigated the values of red blood cell distribution width (RDW), an emerging and independent predictor of morbidity and mortality, in patients with limb, chest and head trauma.

Material and methods: The study sample consisted of all patients who attended the emergency department (ED) of the University Hospital of Parma for limb, chest and head traumas requiring admission to hospital wards during the year 2014. The controls consisted of outpatients living in the same geographical area and undergoing routine laboratory testing for health check-up.

Results: The final study sample consisted of 290 patients with limb (n = 97), chest (n = 49) or head (n = 144) trauma and 967 outpatients. Significantly increased RDW values at admission were observed in all trauma patients compared with controls. Although the frequency of increased RDW (> 14.6%) was higher in all trauma patients than in controls, a subanalysis revealed that increased RDW values were significantly more frequent in patients with head trauma than in controls, but not in those with limb or chest trauma. In multivariate analysis, a significant association was found between head trauma and hemoglobin (p < 0.001) or RDW (p = 0.005). Head trauma patients had a ~3-fold higher likelihood of increased RDW values than controls. The negative and positive predictive values of increased RDW for predicting the presence of head trauma were 0.90 (95% CI: 0.88–0.92) and 0.24 (95% CI: 0.19–0.30).

Conclusions: The results of this study highlight that RDW is increased in patients admitted to the ED with head trauma.

trauma, injury, anisocytosis, red blood cell distribution width

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