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Arch Surg. 1995 Feb;130(2):216-20.

The impact of a dedicated trauma program on outcome in severely injured patients.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Los Angeles County--University of Southern California Medical Center.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In recent years, many trauma centers have been closing or scaling down their operations because of financial losses and lack of commitment by the relevant authorities.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the effect of commitment to trauma and the establishment of a dedicated trauma program on injury outcome.

DESIGN:

In 1992, a well-funded dedicated trauma program was implemented at the Los Angeles County--University of Southern California Medical Center, Los Angeles. We analyzed the outcome in severely injured patients (Injury Severity Score [ISS] > 15) before and after implementation of the program (1991 and 1993).

SETTING:

Large, urban, level 1 trauma center.

PATIENTS:

Patients with trauma and an ISS higher than 15.

RESULTS:

There were 737 patients with an ISS higher than 15 in 1991 and 812 patients with an ISS higher than 15 in 1993. The overall mortality rate was 30% in 1991 and 24.5% in 1993 (P = .018), which is a reduction by 18.3%. In patients with blunt trauma and an ISS higher than 15, mortality was reduced by 33% (mortality rate of 31.1% in 1991 vs 20.8% in 1993) (P < .002). Mortality in patients with penetrating trauma and an ISS higher than 30 was reduced by 42.7% (mortality rate of 59.3% in 1991 vs 34% in 1993) (P = .019). There was also a trend toward lower permanent disabilities among survivors with an ISS higher than 15 (14.7% in 1991 vs 11.3% in 1993).

CONCLUSION:

Commitment of financial and human resources for the establishment of a dedicated trauma program is a sound investment in terms of improved survival and fewer permanent disabilities in critically injured patients.

PMID:
7848094
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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