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CJEM. 2019 Jul;21(4):473-476. doi: 10.1017/cem.2018.496. Epub 2019 Jan 30.

Trauma recidivism in a Canadian province: a 14-year registry review.

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Trauma Nova Scotia, Department of Health and Wellness, Halifax, NS.
Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
Departments of Community Health and Epidemiology and Emergency Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.
Department of Critical Care, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, B3H 4R2.


in English, French


To determine the rate of recurrent major trauma (i.e., trauma recidivism) using a provincial population-based trauma registry. We compared outcomes between recidivists and non-recidivists, and assessed factors associated with recidivism and mortality.


Review of all adult (>17 years) major trauma patients in Nova Scotia (2001-2015) using data from the Nova Scotia Trauma Registry. Outcomes of interest were mortality, duration of hospital stay, and in-hospital complications. Multiple regression was used to assess factors associated with recidivism and mortality.


Of 9,365 major trauma patients, 2% (150/9365) were recidivists. Mean age at initial injury was 52 ± 21.5 years; 73% were male. The mortality rate for both recidivists and non-recidivists was 31%. However, after adjusting for potential confounders the likelihood of mortality was over 3 times greater for recidivists compared to non-recidivists (OR 3.67, 95% CI 2.06-6.54). Other factors associated with mortality included age, male gender, penetrating injury, Injury Severity Score, trauma team activation (TTA) and admission to the intensive care unit. The only variables associated with recidivism were age (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97-1.00) and TTA (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.34-0.96).


This is the first provincial investigation of major trauma recidivism in Canada. While recidivism was infrequent (2%), the adjusted odds of mortality were over three times greater for recidivists. Further research is warranted to determine the effectiveness of strategies for reducing rates of major trauma recidivism such as screening and brief intervention in cases of violence or substance abuse.


mortality; recidivism; trauma


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