Trends in Injury Outcomes Across Canadian Trauma Systems

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Abstract

Importance

In response to the burden of injury, the structure of injury care has changed considerably across Canada in the past decade. However, little is known about how patient outcomes have evolved.

Objective

To evaluate trends in mortality, hospital length of stay, and unplanned readmission in Canadian trauma systems between 2006 and 2012.

Design, Setting, and Participants

A pan-Canadian retrospective cohort study was conducted among adults admitted for major injury to a Canadian level I or II trauma center between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2012. Data analysis was conducted from April 15 to December 3, 2015.

Exposures

Trauma centers and systems.

Main Outcomes and Measures

Multilevel generalized linear models were used to evaluate trends in the risk-adjusted incidence of mortality and readmission and risk-adjusted mean length of stay. Trend analyses were conducted globally and by province.

Results

Among 78 807 patients (mean [SD] age, 50.7 [22.0] years; 22 540 women and 56 267 men) admitted for major injury during the study period, risk-adjusted mortality decreased from 12.1% (95% CI, 9%-16.1%) to 9.9% (95% CI, 7.4%-13.3%; P < .001) and mean length of hospital stay decreased from 11.6 (95% CI, 9.9-13.6) to 10.6 (95% CI, 9.1-12.5) days (P < .001). Statistically significant reductions in mortality were observed for Ontario (12% [95% CI, 10.7%-13.6%] to 8% [95% CI, 6.9%-9.2%]; P < .001), Alberta (12% [95% CI, 10%-14.3%] to 9.1% [95% CI, 7.7%-10.8%]; P = .02), and Manitoba (13% [95% CI, 9.1%-18.4%] to 11.1% [95% CI, 8.3%-14.7%]; P = .04). Risk-adjusted hospital stay decreased significantly in Québec (11.6 [95% CI, 11.1-12] to 9.1 [95% CI, 8.9-9.5] days; P < .001), British Columbia (12.5 [95% CI, 12-13.1] to 11.4 [10.9-11.9] days; P < .001), and Ontario (10.1 [95% CI, 9.8-10.4] to 9.8 [95% CI, 9.5-10.1] days; P < .001). No change in the incidence of readmission was observed.

Conclusions and Relevance

We observed an 18.2% relative decrease in risk-adjusted mortality in Canadian trauma centers during the study period, representing 248 additional lives saved in 2012 vs 2006. Risk-adjusted mean hospital stay decreased by 8.6%, representing nearly 10 000 hospital days saved. A better understanding of the structures and processes behind observed improvements is needed to further reduce the burden of injury in Canada.

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