Surgery resident education is based on experiential training, which is influenced by changes in clinical management strategies, technical and technologic advances, and administrative regulations. Trauma care has been exposed to each of these factors, prompting concerns about resident experience in operative trauma. The current study analyzed the reported volume of operative trauma for the last two decades; to our knowledge, this is the first evaluation of nationwide trends during such an extended time line.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) database of operative logs was queried from academic year (AY) 1989–1990 to 2009–2010 to identify shifts in trauma operative experience. Annual case log data for each cohort of graduating surgery residents were combined into approximately 5-year blocks, designated Period I (AY1989–1990 to AY1993–1994), Period II (AY1994–1995 to AY1998–1999), Period III (AY1999–2000 to AY2002–2003), and Period IV (AY2003–2004 to AY2009–2010). The latter two periods were delineated by the year in which duty hour restrictions were implemented.
Overall general surgery caseload increased from Period I to Period II (p < 0.001), remained stable from Period II to Period III, and decreased from Period III to Period IV (p < 0.001). However, for ACGME-designated trauma cases, there were significant declines from Period I to Period II (75.5 vs. 54.5 cases, p < 0.001) and Period II to Period III (54.5 vs. 39.3 cases, p < 0.001) but no difference between Period III and Period IV (39.3 vs. 39.4 cases). Graduating residents in Period I performed, on average, 31 intra-abdominal trauma operations, including approximately five spleen and four liver operations. Residents in Period IV performed 17 intra-abdominal trauma operations, including three spleen and approximately two liver operations.
Recent general surgery trainees perform fewer trauma operations than previous trainees. The majority of this decline occurred before implementation of work-hour restrictions. Although these changes reflect concurrent changes in management of trauma, surgical educators must meet the challenge of training residents in procedures less frequently performed.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Epidemiologic study, level III; therapeutic study, level IV.
Surgical residents; trauma; ACGME; resident work-hour restrictions; education
Our goal was to perform a comparative effectiveness study of intravenous (IV)-only versus IV + enteral contrast in computed tomographic (CT) scans performed for patients undergoing appendectomy across a diverse group of hospitals.
Small randomized trials from tertiary centers suggest that enteral contrast does not improve diagnostic performance of CT for suspected appendicitis, but generalizability has not been demonstrated. Eliminating enteral contrast may improve efficiency, patient comfort, and safety.
We analyzed data for adult patients who underwent nonelective appendectomy at 56 hospitals over a 2-year period. Data were obtained directly from patient charts by trained abstractors. Multivariate logistic regression was utilized to adjust for potential confounding. The main outcome measure was concordance between final radiology interpretation and final pathology report.
A total of 9047 adults underwent appendectomy and 8089 (89.4%) underwent CT, 54.1% of these with IV contrast only and 28.5% with IV + enteral contrast. Pathology findings correlated with radiographic findings in 90.0% of patients who received IV + enteral contrast and 90.4% of patients scanned with IV contrast alone. Hospitals were categorized as rural or urban and by their teaching status. Regardless of hospital type, there was no difference in concordance between IV-only and IV + enteral contrast. After adjusting for age, sex, comorbid conditions, weight, hospital type, and perforation, odds ratio of concordance for IV + enteral contrast versus IV contrast alone was 0.95 (95% CI: 0.72–1.25).
Enteral contrast does not improve CT evaluation of appendicitis in patients undergoing appendectomy. These broadly generalizable results from a diverse group of hospitals suggest that enteral contrast can be eliminated in CT scans for suspected appendicitis.
appendicitis; comparative effectiveness; Computed tomography; diagnosis; enteral contrast; oral contrast
There are increasing efforts towards improving the quality and safety of surgical care while decreasing the costs. In Washington state, there has been a regional and unique approach to surgical quality improvement. The development of the Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP) was first described 5 years ago. SCOAP is a peer-to-peer collaborative that engages surgeons to determine the many process of care metrics that go into a “perfect” operation, track on risk adjusted outcomes that are specific to a given operation, and create interventions to correct under performance in both the use of these process measures and outcomes. SCOAP is a thematic departure from report card oriented QI. SCOAP builds off the collaboration and trust of the surgical community and strives for quality improvement by having peers change behaviors of one another. We provide, here, the progress of the SCOAP initiative and highlight its achievements and challenges.
The diagnosis of blunt abdominal trauma can be challenging and resource intensive. Observation with serial clinical assessments plays a major role in the evaluation of these patients, but the time required for intra-abdominal injury to become clinically apparent is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of time required for an intra-abdominal injury to become clinically apparent after blunt abdominal trauma via physical examination or commonly followed clinical values.
A retrospective review of patients who sustained blunt trauma resulting in intra-abdominal injury between June 2010 and June 2012 at a Level 1 academic trauma center was performed. Patient demographics, injuries, and the amount of time from emergency department admission to sign or symptom development and subsequent diagnosis were recorded. All diagnoses were made by computed tomography or at the time of surgery. Patient transfers from other hospitals were excluded.
Of 3,574 blunt trauma patients admitted to the hospital, 285 (8%) experienced intra-abdominal injuries. The mean (SD) age was 36(17) years, the majority were male (194 patients, 68%) and the mean (SD) Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 21 (14). The mean (SD) time from admission to diagnosis via computed tomography or surgery was 74 (55) minutes. Eighty patients (28%) required either surgery (78 patients, 17%) or radiographic embolization (2 patients, 0.7%) for their injury. All patients who required intervention demonstrated a sign or symptom of their intra-abdominal injury within 60 minutes of arrival, although two patients were intervened upon in a delayed fashion. All patients with a blunt intra-abdominal injury manifested a clinical sign or symptom of their intra-abdominal injury, resulting in their diagnosis within 8 hours 25 minutes of arrival to the hospital.
All diagnosed intra-abdominal injuries from blunt trauma manifested clinical signs or symptoms that could prompt imaging or intervention, leading to their diagnosis within 8 hours 25 minutes of arrival to the hospital. All patients who required an intervention for their injury manifested a sign or symptom of their injury within 60 minutes of arrival.
Level of Evidence
Therapeutic study, level IV Epidemiologic study, level III.
Blunt trauma; intra-abdominal injury; 8 hours; 60 minutes; clinically apparent
The optimal time to initiate venous thromboembolism pharmacoprophylaxis after blunt abdominal solid organ injury is unknown.
Postinjury coagulation status was characterized using thromboelastography (TEG) in trauma patients with blunt abdominal solid organ injuries; TEG was divided into 12-hour intervals up to 72 hours.
Forty-two of 304 patients (13.8%) identified underwent multiple postinjury thromboelastographic studies. Age (P = .45), gender (P = .45), and solid organ injury grade (P = .71) were similar between TEG and non-TEG patients. TEG patients had higher Injury Severity Scores compared with non-TEG patients (33.2 vs 18.3, respectively, P < .01). Among the TEG patients, the shear elastic modulus strength and maximum amplitude values began in the normal range within the first 12-hour interval after injury, increased linearly, and crossed into the hypercoagulable range at 48 hours (15.1 ± 1.9 Kd/cs and 57.6 ± 1.6 mm, respectively; P < .01, analysis of variance).
Patients sustaining blunt abdominal solid organ injuries transition to a hypercoagulable state approximately 48 hours after injury. In the absence of contraindications, pharmacoprophylaxis should be considered before this time for effective venous thromboembolism prevention.
Trauma; Blunt solid organ injury; Hypercoagulable
Our objective was to determine the predictive value of the anatomic step of the 2011 Field Triage Decision Scheme for identifying trauma center need.
EMS providers caring for injured adults transported to regional trauma centers in 3 midsized communities were interviewed over two years. Patients were included, regardless of injury severity, if they were at least 18 years old and were transported by EMS with a mechanism of injury that was an assault, motor vehicle or motorcycle crash, fall, or pedestrian or bicyclist struck. The interview was conducted upon ED arrival and collected physiologic condition and anatomic injury data. Patients who met the physiologic criteria were excluded. Trauma center need was defined as non-orthopedic surgery within 24 hours, intensive care unit admission, or death prior to hospital discharge. Data were analyzed by calculating descriptive statistics including positive likelihood ratios (+LR) with 95% confidence intervals.
11,892 interviews were conducted. One was excluded because of missing outcome data and 1,274 were excluded because they met the physiologic step. EMS providers identified 1,167 cases that met the anatomic criteria, of which 307 (26%) needed the resources of a trauma center (38% sensitivity, 91% specificity, +LR 4.4; CI: 3.9 - 4.9). Criteria with a +LR ≥5 were flail chest (9.0; CI: 4.1 - 19.4), paralysis (6.8; CI: 4.2 - 11.2), two or more long bone fractures (6.3; CI: 4.5 - 8.9), and amputation (6.1; CI: 1.5 - 24.4). Criteria with a +LR >2 and <5 were penetrating injury (4.8; CI: 4.2 - 5.6), and skull fracture (4.8; CI: 3.0 - 7.7). Only pelvic fracture (1.9; CI: 1.3 - 2.9) had a +LR less than 2.
The anatomic step of the Field Triage Guidelines as determined by EMS providers is a reasonable tool for determining trauma center need. Use of EMS perceived pelvic fracture as an indicator for trauma center need should be re-evaluated.
Wounds and Injury; Triage; Emergency Medical Services; Emergency Medical Technicians
Ethnoracial minority status contributes to an increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after trauma exposure, beyond other risk factors. A population-based sampling frame was used to examine the associations between ethnoracial groups and early PTSD symptoms while adjusting for relevant clinical and demographic characteristics. Acutely injured trauma center inpatients (N = 623) were screened with the PTSD Checklist. American Indian and African American patients reported the highest levels of posttraumatic stress and preinjury cumulative trauma burden. African American heritage was independently associated with an increased risk of higher acute PTSD symptom levels. Disparities in trauma history, PTSD symptoms, and event related factors emphasize the need for acute care services to incorporate culturally competent approaches for treating these diverse populations.
To test the effectiveness of a stepped care intervention model targeting posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms after injury.
Few investigations have evaluated interventions for injured patients with PTSD and related impairments that can be feasibly implemented in trauma surgical settings.
The investigation was a pragmatic effectiveness trial in which 207 acutely injured hospitalized trauma survivors were screened for high PTSD symptom levels and then randomized to a stepped combined, care management, psychopharmacology, and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy intervention (n = 104) or usual care control (n = 103) conditions. The symptoms of PTSD and functional limitations were reassessed at one-, three-, six-, nine-, and twelve-months after the index injury admission.
Regression analyses demonstrated that over the course of the year after injury, intervention patients had significantly reduced PTSD symptoms when compared to controls (group by time effect, CAPS, F(2, 185) = 5.50, P < 0.01; PCL-C, F(4, 185) = 5.45, P < 0.001). Clinically and statistically significant PTSD treatment effects were observed at the six-, nine-, and twelve-month post-injury assessments. Over the course of the year after injury, intervention patients also demonstrated significant improvements in physical function (MOS SF-36 PCS main effect, F(1, 172) = 9.87, P < 0.01).
Stepped care interventions can reduce PTSD symptoms and improve functioning over the course of the year after surgical injury hospitalization. Orchestrated investigative and policy efforts could systematically introduce and evaluate screening and intervention procedures for PTSD at United States trauma centers. (Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00270959)
In 2005 the American College of Surgeons passed a mandate requiring that Level I trauma centers have a mechanism to identify patients who are problem drinkers and have the capacity to provide an intervention for patients who screen positive. The aim of the Disseminating Organizational Screening and Brief Intervention Services (DO-SBIS) cluster randomized trial is to test a multilevel intervention targeting the implementation of high quality alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) services at trauma centers.
Twenty sites selected from all US Level I trauma centers were randomized to participate in the trial. Intervention site providers receive a combination of workshop training in evidence-based motivational interviewing (MI) interventions and organizational development activities prior to conducting trauma center-based alcohol SBI with blood alcohol positive injured patients. Control sites implement care as usual. Provider MI skills, patient alcohol consumption, and organizational acceptance of SBI implementation outcomes are assessed.
The investigation has successfully recruited provider, patient, and trauma center staff samples into the study and outcomes are being followed longitudinally.
When completed, the DO-SBIS trial will inform future American College of Surgeons’ policy targeting the sustained integration of high quality alcohol SBI at trauma centers nationwide.
Acute care medical trauma centers; Injury; Alcohol; Screening and brief intervention; American College of Surgeons
In an effort to integrate substance abuse treatment at trauma centers, the American College of Surgeons has mandated alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI). Few investigations have assessed trauma center inpatients for comorbidities that may impact the effectiveness of SBI that exclusively focuses on alcohol. Randomly selected SBI eligible acute care medical inpatients (N=878) were evaluated for alcohol, illegal drugs, and symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) using electronic medical record, toxicology, and self-report assessments; 79% of all patients had one or more alcohol, illegal drug, or PTSD symptom comorbidity. Over 70% of patients receiving alcohol SBI (n=166) demonstrated one or more illegal drug or PTSD symptom comorbidity. A majority of trauma center inpatients have comorbidities that may impact the effectiveness of mandated alcohol SBI. Investigations that realistically capture, account for, and intervene upon these common comorbid presentations are required to inform the iterative development of College policy targeting integrated substance abuse treatment at trauma centers.
BACKGROUND and OBJECTIVES
Studies suggest that CT and US can effectively diagnose and rule-out appendicitis, safely reducing negative appendectomies (NA); however, some within the surgical community remain reluctant to add imaging to clinical evaluation of patients with suspected appendicitis. The Surgical Care and Outcomes Assessment Program (SCOAP) is a physician-led quality initiative that monitors performance by benchmarking processes of care and outcomes. Since 2006, accurate diagnosis of appendicitis has been a priority for SCOAP. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between imaging and NA in the general community.
Data were collected prospectively for consecutive appendectomy patients (age > 15) at nearly 60 hospitals. SCOAP data are obtained directly from clinical records, including radiology, operative, and pathology reports. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between imaging and NA. Tests for trends over time were also conducted.
Among 19,327 patients (47.9% female) who underwent appendectomy, 5.4% had NA. Among patients who were imaged, frequency of NA was 4.5%, whereas among those who were not imaged, NA was 15.4% (p < 0.001). This association was consistent for males (3% vs. 10%, p < 0.001) and for reproductive-age females (6.9% vs. 24.7%, p < 0.001). In a multivariate model adjusted for age, sex, and WBC, odds of NA for patients not imaged were 3.7 times the odds for those who received imaging (95%CI 3.0 – 4.4). Among SCOAP hospitals, use of imaging increased and NA decreased significantly over time; frequency of perforation was unchanged.
Patients who were not imaged during work-up for suspected appendicitis had over three times the odds of NA as those who were imaged. Routine imaging in the evaluation of patients suspected to have appendicitis can safely reduce unnecessary operations. Programs such as SCOAP improve care through peer-led, benchmarked practice change.
Our aim is to assess state variation in renal trauma outcomes. We hypothesize that states with more hospitals participating in a trauma system will have lower nephrectomy and mortality rates.
The Heathcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Database was utilized to conduct a retrospective cohort study of all patients hospitalized with renal injury from partnering states during 2001, 2004, and 2007. State trauma systems were categorized based on the proportion of all acute care hospitals designated as a trauma center (level I-V), with higher proportions correlating to a more inclusive system. Poisson regression for relative risks of inpatient nephrectomy and case fatality were performed adjusting for patient and state level factors.
Patients in states with the “most inclusive” trauma systems had a 30% lower risk of nephrectomy (RR 0.70 95% CI 0.56, 0.88) and a 2.06% lower unadjusted inpatient case fatality rate compared to states with “exclusive” trauma systems. Inpatient case fatality risk varied significantly by trauma system inclusiveness. Patients treated in states with either a “more inclusive” (RR 0.85, 95% CI 0.74, 0.97) or “most inclusive” (0.74, 95% CI 0.64, 0.85) trauma system were independently associated with a lower inpatient case fatality risk compared to states with “exclusive” systems.
A reduced risk of nephrectomy and inpatient case fatality are more common among states that have a higher proportion of acute care hospitals participating as a trauma center (level I-V). Standardization of care may correlate with improved patient outcomes following renal trauma.
renal trauma; nephrectomy; outcomes; tiered delivery of trauma care
To survey US Level I trauma centers in order to assess the characteristics of child and adolescent psychosocial service delivery.
Trauma program staff at US Level I trauma centers were asked to complete a survey regarding the characteristics and quality of service delivery for youth. The presence of pediatric services and screening of injured youth for alcohol use problems and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were assessed.
150 of 202 (74%) of trauma centers responded to the survey. Substantial variability was observed in trauma center age cutoffs for pediatric and adolescent patients. Although the majority of sites endorsed having specialized pediatric, intensive care unit, and surgical services, marked differences were found in the reported percentage of youth receiving psychosocial services. Even though the majority of sites screened injured youth for alcohol use problems, variability was observed in the actual percentage of children and adolescents screened. Only 20% of sites endorsed specialized PTSD services.
Our investigation observed marked variability across trauma centers in the delivery of child and adolescent services. Future research could develop high quality pediatric psychosocial services in order to inform trauma center standards nationwide.
Quality of Care; Children; Adolescents; Psychiatry; PTSD; Alcohol
To determine the accuracy of EMS provider assessments of motor vehicle damage, when compared to measurements made by a professional crash reconstructionist.
EMS providers caring for adult patients injured during a motor vehicle crash and transported to the regional trauma center in a midsized community were interviewed upon ED arrival. The interview collected provider estimates of crash mechanism of injury. For crashes that met a preset severity threshold, the vehicle’s owner was asked to consent to having a crash reconstructionist assess their vehicle. The assessment included measuring intrusion and external auto deformity. Vehicle damage was used to calculate change in velocity. Paired t-test and correlation were used to compare EMS estimates and investigator derived values.
91 vehicles were enrolled; of these 58 were inspected and 33 were excluded because the vehicle was not accessible. 6 vehicles had multiple patients. Therefore, a total of 68 EMS estimates were compared to the inspection findings. Patients were 46% male, 28% admitted to hospital, and 1% died. Mean EMS estimated deformity was 18” and mean measured was 14”. Mean EMS estimated intrusion was 5” and mean measured was 4”. EMS providers and the reconstructionist had 67% agreement for determination of external auto deformity (kappa 0.26), and 88% agreement for determination of intrusion (kappa 0.27) when the 1999 Field Triage Decision Scheme Criteria were applied. Mean EMS estimated speed prior to the crash was 48 mph±13 and mean reconstructionist estimated change in velocity was 18 mph±12 (correlation -0.45). EMS determined that 19 vehicles had rolled over while the investigator identified 18 (kappa 0.96). In 55 cases EMS and the investigator agreed on seatbelt use, for the remaining 13 cases there was disagreement (5) or the investigator was unable to make a determination (8) (kappa 0.40).
This study found that EMS providers are good at estimating rollover. Vehicle intrusion, deformity, and seatbelt use appear to be more difficult to estimate with only fair agreement with the crash reconstructionist. As expected, the EMS provider estimated speed prior to the crash does not appear to be a reasonable proxy for change in velocity.
Wounds and Injury; Triage; Emergency Medical Services; Emergency Medical Technicians
To determine the predictive value of the Mechanism of Injury step of the American College of Surgeon’s Field Triage Decision Scheme for determining trauma center need.
EMS providers caring for injured adult patients transported to the regional trauma center in 3 midsized communities over two years were interviewed upon ED arrival. Included was any injured patient, regardless of injury severity. The interview collected patient physiologic condition, apparent anatomic injury, and mechanism of injury. Using the 1999 Scheme, patients who met the physiologic or anatomic steps were excluded. Patients were considered to need a trauma center if they had non-orthopedic surgery within 24 hours, intensive care unit admission, or died prior to hospital discharge. Data were analyzed by calculating positive likelihood ratios (+LR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for each mechanism of injury criteria.
11,892 provider interviews were conducted. Of those, 1was excluded because outcome data were not available and 2,408 were excluded because they met the other steps of the Field Triage Decision Scheme. Of the remaining 9,483 cases, 2,363 met one of the mechanism of injury criteria, 204 (9%) of which needed the resources of a trauma center. Criteria with a +LR ≥5 were death of another occupant in the same vehicle (6.8; CI:2.7–16.7), fall >20 ft.(5.2; CI:2.4–11.3), and motor vehicle crash (MVC) extrication >20 minutes (5.0; CI:3.2–8.0). Criteria with a +LR between 2 and <5 were intrusion >12 inches (3.7; CI:2.6–5.3), ejection (3.2; CI:1.3–8.2), and deformity >20 inches (2.3; CI:1.7–3.0). The criteria with a +LR <2 were MVC speed >40 mph (1.9; CI:1.5–2.2), pedestrian/bicyclist struck >5mph (1.2; CI:1.0–1.5), bicyclist/pedestrian thrown or run over (1.2; CI:0.9–1.6), motorcycle crash >20mph (1.1; CI:0.96–1.3), rider separated from motorcycle (1.0; CI:0.9–1.2), and MVC rollover (1.0; CI:0.7–1.5).
Death of another occupant, fall distance, and extrication time were good predictors of trauma center need when a patient did not meet the anatomic or physiologic conditions. Intrusion, ejection, and vehicle deformity were moderate predictors.
Wounds and Injury; Triage; Emergency Medical Services; Emergency Medical Technicians
To develop and implement a stepped collaborative care intervention targeting PTSD and related co-morbidities to enhance the population impact of early trauma-focused interventions.
We describe the design and implementation of the Trauma Survivors Outcomes & Support Study (TSOS II). An interdisciplinary treatment development team was comprised of trauma surgical, clinical psychiatric and mental health services “change agents” who spanned the boundaries between front-line trauma center clinical care and acute care policy. Mixed method clinical epidemiologic and clinical ethnographic studies informed the development of PTSD screening and intervention procedures.
Two-hundred and seven acutely injured trauma survivors with high early PTSD symptom levels were randomized into the study. The stepped collaborative care model integrated care management (i.e., posttraumatic concern elicitation and amelioration, motivational interviewing, and behavioral activation) with cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy targeting PTSD. The model was feasibly implemented by front-line acute care MSW and ARNP providers.
Stepped care protocols targeting PTSD may enhance the population impact of early interventions developed for survivors of individual and mass trauma by extending the reach of collaborative care interventions to acute care medical settings and other non-specialty posttraumatic contexts.
PTSD; stepped collaborative care; acute care; population impact; traumatic injury
In 2006, the CDC released a revised Field Triage Decision Scheme. It is unknown how this modified scheme will affect the number of patients identified by EMS for transport to a trauma center.
To determine the change in the number of patients transported by EMS who meet the 2006 scheme, compared to the 1999 scheme, and to determine how the scheme change would affect under- and over-triage rates.
EMS providers in charge of care for injured adult patients transported to a regional trauma center in three mid-sized cities were interviewed immediately after completing transport. All injured patients were included, regardless of severity. The interview included patient demographics, vital signs, apparent anatomic injury, and the mechanism of injury. Included patients were then followed through hospital discharge. The 1999 and 2006 scheme criteria were each retrospectively applied to the collected data. The number of patients identified by the two schemes was determined. Patients were considered to have needed a trauma center if they had non-orthopedic surgery within 24 hours, ICU admission, or died. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics including 95% confidence intervals.
EMS interviews were conducted for 11,892 patients and outcome data was unavailable for one patient. Average patient age was 48 years; 51% were men. Providers reported bringing 54% of the enrolled patients to the trauma center based on their local trauma protocol. 12% of enrolled patients were identified as needing a trauma center based on medical record review. Use of the 2006 scheme would have resulted in 1,423 fewer patients (12%; 95% CI:11-13%) being identified as needing a trauma center by EMS providers (40%; 95%CI:39-41% versus 28%; 95%CI:27-29%). 1,344 of those patients did not actually need the resources of a trauma center (94%). 78 (6%) of those patients actually needed the resources of a trauma center and would have been under-triaged.
Use of the 2006 Field Triage Decision Scheme would have resulted in a significant decrease in the number of patients identified as needing the resources of a trauma center. These changes reduced over-triage while causing a small increase in the number of patients who would have been under-triaged.
Wounds and Injury; Triage; Emergency Medical Services; Emergency Medical Technicians
The aim of this study was to develop and validate a comorbidity index to predict the risk of mortality associated with chronic health conditions following a traumatic injury.
Summary Background Data
Currently available comorbidity adjustment tools do not account for certain chronic conditions, which may influence outcome following traumatic injury or they have not been fully validated for trauma. Controlling for comorbidity in trauma patients is becoming increasingly important as the population ages and elderly patients are more active, as well as to adjust for bias in trauma mortality studies.
Cohort study using data from the National Study on the Costs and Outcome of Trauma. Subject pool (N = 4644/Weighted Number = 14,069) was randomly divided in half; the first half of subjects was used to derive the risk scale, the second to validate the instrument. To construct the Mortality Risk Score for Trauma (MoRT), univariate analysis and odds ratios were performed to determine relative risk of mortality at hospital discharge comparing those persons with a comorbid condition to those without. Conditions significantly associated with mortality (P < 0.05) were included in the multivariate model. The variables in the final model were used to build the MoRT. The predictive ability of the MoRT and the Charlson Comorbid-ity Index (CCI) for discharge and 1-year mortality were estimated using the c-statistic in the validation sample.
Six comorbidity factors were independently associated with the risk of mortality and formed the basis for the MoRT: severe liver disease, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular disease, cardiac arrhythmias, dementia, and depression. The MoRT had a similar overall discrimination as the CCI for mortality at hospital discharge in injured adults (c-statistic: 0.56 vs. 0.56) although neither by itself performed well. The addition of age and gender improved the predictive ability of the MoRT (0.59; 95% CI: 0.56, 0.62) and the CCI (0.59; 0.56, 0.62). Similar results were seen at 1-year postinjury. The further addition of Injury Severity Score significantly improved the predictive ability of the MoRT (0.77, 95% CI: 0.74, 0.79) and the CCI (0.77, 95% CI: 0.75, 0.80).
The MoRTs primary advantage over current instruments is its parsimony, containing only 6 items. In the present study, the comorbid conditions found to be predictive of mortality had some overlap with the CCI, but this study identified 2 novel predictors: cardiac arrhythmias and depression. Inclusion and reporting of these items within trauma registries would therefore be an important step to allow further validation and use of the MoRT.
In 2007, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma implemented a requirement that Level I trauma centers must have a mechanism to identify patients who are problem drinkers and the capacity to provide an intervention for patients who screen positive. Although the landmark alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) mandate is anticipated to impact trauma practice nationwide, a literature review revealed no studies that have systematically documented SBI practice pre-ACS requirement.
Trauma programs at all US Level I trauma centers were contacted and asked to complete a survey about pre-ACS requirement trauma center SBI practice.
One hundred forty-eight of 204 (73%) Level I trauma centers responded to the survey. More than 70% of responding centers routinely used laboratory tests (eg, blood alcohol concentration) to screen patients for alcohol and 39% routinely used a screening question or standardized screening instrument. Screen-positive patients received a formal alcohol consult or had an informal alcohol discussion with staff members approximately 25% of the time.
The investigation observed marked variability across Level I centers in the percentage of patients screened and in the nature and extent of intervention delivery in screen-positive patients. In the wake of the ACS Committee on Trauma requirement, future research could systematically implement and evaluate training in the delivery of evidence-based alcohol interventions and training in development of trauma center organizational capacity for sustained delivery of SBI.
Few large-scale, multisite investigations have assessed the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and health outcomes across the spectrum of patients with mild, moderate, and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
To understand the risk of developing PTSD symptoms and to assess the impact of PTSD on the development of health and cognitive impairments across the full spectrum of TBI severity.
Multisite US prospective cohort study.
Eighteen level I trauma centers and 51 non–trauma center hospitals.
A total of 3047 (weighted n=10 372) survivors of multiple traumatic injuries between the ages of 18 and 84 years.
Main Outcome Measures
Severity of TBI was categorized from chart-abstracted International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes. Symptoms consistent with a DSM-IV diagnosis of PTSD were assessed with the PTSD Checklist 12 months after injury. Self-reported outcome assessment included the 8 Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey health status domains and a 4-item assessment of cognitive function at telephone interviews 3 and 12 months after injury.
At the time of injury hospitalization, 20.5% of patients had severe TBI, 11.7% moderate TBI, 12.9% mild TBI, and 54.9% no TBI. Patients with severe (relative risk, 0.72; 95% confidence interval, 0.58-0.90) and moderate (0.63; 0.44-0.89) TBI, but not mild TBI (0.83; 0.61-1.13), demonstrated a significantly diminished risk of PTSD symptoms relative to patients without TBI. Across TBI categories, in adjusted analyses patients with PTSD demonstrated an increased risk of health status and cognitive impairments when compared with patients without PTSD.
More severe TBI was associated with a diminished risk of PTSD. Regardless of TBI severity, injured patients with PTSD demonstrated the greatest impairments in self-reported health and cognitive function. Treatment programs for patients with the full spectrum of TBI severity should integrate intervention approaches targeting PTSD.
Necrotizing soft-tissue infections (NSTI) are often life-threatening illnesses that may be best treated at specialty care facilities such as burn centers. However, little is known about current treatment patterns nationwide. The purpose of this study was to describe the referral patterns for treatment of NSTI using a multistate discharge database and to investigate the differences in patients with NSTIs treated at burn centers and nonburn centers. The National Inpatient Sample is an all-payer inpatient database from 37 states containing data from 14 million hospital stays each year. We identified all patients with NSTI using International Classification of Disease version 9 codes for necrotizing fasciitis (728.86), gas gangrene (040.0), and Fournier’s gangrene (608.83) for the years 2001 and 2004. Patients were dichotomized by location of definitive treatment—either burn centers or nonburn centers. Burn center status was ascertained from the current American Burn Association burn center directory. Patient characteristics, payer status, hospital course, mortality rates, and disposition were compared between patients treated at burn centers and nonburn centers. In 2001 and 2004, a total of 10,940 patients were identified as having a NSTI. The majority (87.1%) of these patients received definitive care at nonburn centers. Patients treated at burn centers were more likely to be transferred from another hospital (OR 2.0, CI 1.8–2.2) and were more likely to have Medicaid (22.6% vs 16.3%, OR 1.39) or be uninsured (18.8% vs 13.7%, OR 1.38). Patients treated at burn centers had more surgical procedures (4.6 vs 4.3, P <.01), and higher hospital charges ($101,800 vs $68,500, P <.01). Total length of stay was also longer at burn centers (22.1 vs 16.0 days, P <.01). Based on a national discharge database, the majority of patients with NSTI are treated at nonburn centers. However, patients treated at burn centers were more likely to be transferred from non-burn centers, had longer lengths of stay, and underwent more operations, all of which are likely attributable to a greater severity of infection.
To provide guidance for managing the problem of missing data in clinical studies of trauma in order to decrease bias and increase the validity of findings for subsequent use.
A thoughtful approach to missing data is an essential component of analysis to promote the clear interpretation of study findings.
Integrative review of relevant biostatistics, medical and nursing literature, and case exemplars of missing data analyses using multiple linear regression based upon data from the National Study on the Costs and Outcomes of Trauma (NSCOT) was used as an example.
Findings and Conclusions
In studies of traumatically injured people, multiple imputed values are often superior to complete case analyses that might have significant bias. Multiple imputation can improve accuracy of the assessment and might also improve precision of estimates. Sensitivity analyses which implements repeated analyses using various scenarios may also be useful in providing information supportive of further inquiry. This stepwise approach of missing data could also be valid in studies with similar types or patterns of missing data.
In interpreting and applying findings of studies with missing data, clinicians need to ensure that researchers have used appropriate methods for handling this issue. If suitable methods were not employed, nurse clinicians need to be aware that the findings may be biased.
data collection; multiple imputation; sensitivity analyses; bias; precision
To examine the association between patient complications and admission to level 1 trauma centers (TC) compared to non-trauma centers (NTC).
A retrospective cohort study of data derived from the National Study on the Costs and Outcomes of Trauma (NSCOT). Patients were recruited from 18 level 1 TC and 51 NTC in 15 regions encompassing 14 states. Trained study nurses, using standardized forms, abstracted the medical records of the patients. The overall number of complications per patient was identified as well as the presence or absence of 13 specific complications.
Patients treated in TC were more likely to have any complication compared to NTC with an adjusted relative risk (RR) of 1.34 (95% CI 1.03, 1.74). For individual complications, only urinary tract infection RR 1.94 (95% CI 1.07, 3.17) was significantly higher in TC. TC patients were more likely to have three or more complications, RR 1.83 (95% CI 1.16, 2.90). Treatment variables that are surrogates for markers of injury severity, such as use of pulmonary artery catheters, multiple operations, massive transfusions (> 2,500mL packed red blood cells), and invasive brain catheters, occurred significantly more often in TC.
Trauma centers have a slightly higher incidence rate of complications even after adjusting for patient case mix. Aggressive treatment may account for a significant portion of TC-associated complications. PA catheter use and intubation had the most influence on overall TC complication rates. Further study is needed to provide accurate benchmark measures of complication rates and to determine their causes.