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Injury. 2018 Aug;49(8):1552-1557. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2018.06.021. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Mapping the continuum of care to surgery following traumatic spinal cord injury.

Author information

1
School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Science, Health & Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne, 3086, Australia; Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address: 16106373@students.latrobe.edu.au.
2
School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Science, Health & Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne, 3086, Australia; National Trauma Research Institute, The Alfred Hospital, Level 4, 89 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004, Australia. Electronic address: imosley@latrobe.edu.au.
3
Trauma Service, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; National Trauma Research Institute, The Alfred Hospital, Level 4, 89 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004, Australia. Electronic address: mark.fitzgerald@monash.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating injury, frequently resulting in paralysis and a lifetime of medical and social problems. Reducing time to surgery may improve patient outcomes. A vital first step to reduce times is to map current pathways of care from injury to surgery, identify rapid care pathways and factors associated with rapid care pathway times.

METHODS:

A retrospective review of the Alfred Trauma Service records was undertaken for all cases of spinal injury recorded in the Alfred Trauma Registry over a three year period. Patients with an Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) code matching 148 codes for spinal injury were included in the study. Information extracted from the Alfred Trauma Registry included demographic, clinical and key care timelines.

RESULTS:

Of the 342 cases identified, 119 had SCI. The average age of SCI patients was 52 years, with 84% male. The vast majority of SCI patients experienced multiple concurrent injuries (87%). Median time from injury to surgery was 17 h r 28 min for SCI patients in comparison to 28 h r 23 min for non-SCI patients. Three pathways to surgery were identified following Trauma Centre presentation- transfer to surgery direct from trauma unit (median time to surgery was 4 h 17 min.), via Intensive Care (median time to surgery was 24 h 33 min) and via the ward (median time to surgery 28 h r 35 min.) SCI was independently associated with the fastest pathway - direct transfer from trauma unit to surgery - with 41% of SCI cases transferred directly to surgery from the trauma unit.

CONCLUSION:

Notwithstanding that the vast majority of SCI patients presented with other traumatic injuries, half of all SCI cases reached surgery within 18 h of injury, with 25% within 9 h. SCI was independently associated with direct transfer to surgery from the trauma unit. SCI patients achieve rapid times to surgery within a complex trauma service. Furthermore, the trauma system is well positioned to implement further time reductions to surgery for SCI patients.

KEYWORDS:

Process of care; Spinal cord injury; Surgery; Trauma; Trauma service

PMID:
29934095
DOI:
10.1016/j.injury.2018.06.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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