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Health Serv Res. 2005 Apr;40(2):435-57.

Mortality benefit of transfer to level I versus level II trauma centers for head-injured patients.

Author information

  • 1Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether head-injured patients transferred to level I trauma centers have reduced mortality relative to transfers to level II trauma centers.

DATA SOURCE/STUDY SETTING:

Retrospective cohort study of 542 patients with head injury who initially presented to 1 of 31 rural trauma centers in Oregon and Washington, and were transferred from the emergency department to 1 of 15 level I or level II trauma centers, between 1991 and 1994.

STUDY DESIGN:

A bivariate probit, instrumental variables model was used to estimate the effect of transfer to level I versus level II trauma centers on 30-day postdischarge mortality. Independent variables included age, gender, Injury Severity Scale (ISS), other indicators of injury severity, and a dichotomous variable indicating transfer to a level I trauma center. The differential distance between the nearest level I and level II trauma centers was used as an instrument.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Patients transferred to level I trauma centers differ in unmeasured ways from patients transferred to level II trauma centers, biasing estimates based on standard statistical methods. Transfer to a level I trauma center reduced absolute mortality risk by 10.1% (95% confidence interval 0.3%, 22.2%) compared with transfer to level II trauma centers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with severe head injuries transferred from rural trauma centers to level I centers are likely to have improved survival relative to transfer to level II centers.

PMID:
15762901
PMCID:
PMC1361150
DOI:
10.1111/j.1475-6773.2005.00366.x
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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