Analysis of remote trauma transfers in South Central Texas with comparison with current US combat operations: Results of the RemTORN-I study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

This study aimed to analyze demographic, epidemiologic, temporal, and outcome data from an integrated trauma registry of patients undergoing initial stabilization and transfer within a mature domestic trauma network; compare data with a companion subset from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry. Texas Trauma Service Area-P is composed of 25 counties, 15 rural Level IV trauma centers (no acute care surgery), and two Level I trauma centers.

METHODS

This study has a retrospective cohort design. We hypothesize that Injury Severity Scores (ISSs), time intervals, and other clinical indicators would be complimentary to contemporary combat casualties. Inclusion criteria include age 18 years to 80 years, transferred from Level IV to Level I trauma center, or expired en route.

RESULTS

A total of 543 subjects (84%) met the criteria and were analyzed. Averages and confidence intervals were as follows: age of 40 years (38–41 years), males at 81%, ISS of 10 (10–11), intensive care unit stay of 2 days (1–3 days), and hospital stay of 5 days (4–6 days). Mechanisms of injury were as follows: penetrating (15%), blunt weapon (19%), stabs (9%), burns (5%), and gunshots (5%). Eight percent received blood within the first 24 hours. Survival was at 98%. Time intervals (95% confidence interval) were as follows: prehospital at 1:43 (1:29–1:58), Level IV dwell time at 3:17 (3:06–3:28), interfacility transfer at 1:43 (1:36–1:49), and total at 6:39 (6:20–6:58). RemTORN cases were older, spent longer time en route to Level I, and had ISS similar to combat casualties. Rates of blood transfusion in the first 24 hours and survival were similar in order of magnitude.

CONCLUSION

The RemTORN platform is operational. Demographic, epidemiologic, and temporal characteristics as observed will support clinical investigations of traumatic coagulopathy, shock, and potential interventions before Level I arrival. Results of such investigations will likely be applicable to the contemporary and future battlefield.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE

Prognostic and epidemiologic study, level III.

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