In a mass casualty situation after airplane accidents, it is not unusual that physicians with only limited experience in emergency medicine need to perform initial triage. In their day to day work, they may not usually be confronted with the problems of hypovolemic shock. The same holds true for a proportion of the paramedical personnel employed.
Speedy assessment and immediate, purposeful therapy is of the utmost importance in a mass casualty situation to increase the survival prospects of the victims. Timeconsuming and elaborate examinations are naturally precluded.
The estimation of blood loss from profusely bleeding open wounds should not be too difficult. The extent, however, of the total blood loss associated with the insidious development of fracture hematomas is more frequently underestimated. This error can be avoided during triage at a mass casualty situation by means of a quick approximate calculation of the probably internal bleeding volumes:
More difficulty is presented by internal hemorrhage in individuals appearing uninjured or only slightly injured. In such cases, the personnel employed in the early phase after an airplane accident should use simple and proven rules as criteria for their evaluation.
The quotient of the pulse frequency and the systolic blood pressure has been called the shock index (Allgöwer and Burryi) (1). Disregarding the later and more complicated pathophysiological processes such as cardiogenic shock or septic shock, this index has been suggested as a method of assessment of the seveity of the hypovolemic shock in an injured person (Figure 1).