Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if the white blood cell count can predict severity of injury in blunt trauma victims.
Methods: This was a retrospective study comparing two groups of blunt trauma victims by severity of injury, one with significant injury and one without significant injury, and comparing their initial WBC in the emergency department (ED). We also examined if WBC correlates with degree of injury using Injury Severity Score (ISS) in both groups combined. Further, we examined the WBC as a predictor of serious injury.
Results: Our study showed a difference in mean WBC between the two groups that was statistically significant (p<0.001). A positive relationship between ISS and WBC was found, although the association was weak (correlation coefficient = 0.369). While the WBC had moderate discriminatory capability for serious injury, it could not, in isolation, reliably rule in or out serious injury. Nevertheless, this study supports using WBC on presentation to the ED as an adjunct for making disposition decisions.
Conclusion: A significant elevation in WBC in a blunt trauma patient, even with minimal initial signs of severe injury, should heighten suspicion for occult injury.