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Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23(4):289-94. doi: 10.1007/s10654-008-9231-9. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Geographical differences in mortality of severely injured patients in Italy.

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Unit of Hygiene and Epidemiology, DPMSC-School of Medicine, University of Udine, Udine, Italy.



In Italy there are no accepted standards for trauma care nor dedicated programs for quality assessment on a national scale, like trauma registries. At the same time there seems to be a north-south gradient in the quality of health care. We hypothesized that geographical inequalities of health-care quality may affect trauma mortality.


Retrospective comparison of hospital mortality by Cox regression in three main areas of Italy adjusted for age, Glasgow Coma Scale and source of admission. A leading national database on patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) in the years 2002-2005 was used. 9162 adult trauma cases admitted to the ICU from the emergency department were included.


There is a significant north-south gradient of risk. Compared to the north, the risk of death is about 60% higher in the south and about 30% higher in the central region. These figures are similar in both referral centres and other hospitals and both in the head-injured only and total injured cases.


Despite the limitations of this study, mainly related to sampling issues, risk-adjustment and incomplete follow-up, the large geographic differences in mortality that we found highlight likely deficiencies in the quality of trauma care that deserve further accurate assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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