Medical anti-shock trousers (pneumatic anti-shock garments) for circulatory support in patients with trauma

  • Roberts I
  • Blackhall K
  • Dickinson K
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BACKGROUND: Medical antishock trousers (MAST) have been used to increase venous return to the heart until definitive care could be given. This, combined with compression of blood vessels, is believed to cause the movement of blood from the lower body to the brain, heart and lungs. However, the equipment is expensive, and may have adverse effects. OBJECTIVES: To quantify the effect on mortality and morbidity of the use of medical anti-shock trousers (MAST)/ pneumatic anti-shock garments (PASG) in patients following trauma. SEARCH STRATEGY: Trials were identified by searches of the Cochrane Injuries Group Trials Register, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIDS ISI Service and Science Citation Index. References in relevant papers identified were followed up. A citation analysis of references to randomised controlled trials was conducted using the Science Citation Index. Authors of identified trials were contacted and asked about any other trials that may have been conducted, whether published or unpublished. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised and quasi-randomised trials of MAST/PASG in patients following trauma (excluding fractures of the extremities in which MAST/PASG may be used as a splint). DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data were extracted independently by two reviewers. Data were collected on mortality, duration of hospitalisation and ICU stay, and quality of allocation concealment. MAIN RESULTS: Two trials were identified that met the inclusion criteria. These trials included 1202 randomised patients in total; however, data for only 1075 of these were available. The relative risk of death with MAST was 1.13 (95% CI 0.97 to 1.32). Duration of hospitalisation and of intensive care unit stay was longer in the MAST treated group. The weighted mean difference in the length of intensive care unit stay was 1.7 days (95% CI 0.33 to 2.98). REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence to suggest that MAST/PASG application reduces mortality, length of hospitalisation or length of ICU stay in trauma patients and it is possible that it may increase these. These data do not support the continued use of MAST/PASG in the situation described. However, it should be recognised that, due to the poor quality of the trials, conclusions should be drawn with caution.




Roberts, I., Blackhall, K., & Dickinson, K. J. (1999). Medical anti-shock trousers (pneumatic anti-shock garments) for circulatory support in patients with trauma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2010(1).

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