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July 19, 2017–A study conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK and published in PLOS Medicine aimed to discover the earliest changes to the immune system following a traumatic injury. Called the “Golden Hour” study, the four-year effort involved analyses of blood samples taken at the scenes of major traumas in coordination with ambulance services and paramedics.

The primary finding is that immune cells and molecules are altered within minutes of injury. In addition, the immune reaction that occurs in the first hour following a traumatic injury is different from that observed later–for instance, when the patient is in the hospital. The researchers found an association between T cell numbers in the first hour after trauma and the eventual development of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.

“As a consequence of this study, we now hope to develop a test to determine which patients have a response that will predispose them to sepsis or multiple organ failure so that we can identify and treat them early,” said Professor Tony Belli, one of the researchers.

Read the University of Birmingham press release.

-by Pam Bixby,