Should Survivors with an Injury Severity Score Less than 10 Be Entered in a Statewide Trauma Registry?

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Abstract

The necessity of including survivors with minor (ISS <10) injuries in a statewide trauma registry with a quality assurance focus was evaluated. During a 3-month period, data for 3,594 admissions to 28 trauma centers were entered into the registry. Of these admissions 1,696 patients (50.8% of patients studied) had an ISS <10. Of those, 10 (0.6%) were nonsurvivors and 67 (3.9%) had severe disability (66) or were in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) (1) at hospital discharge. Five nonsurvivors were 65 years of age or older. Four were injured in falls and one was an injured pedestrian. The disabled subset included a high percentage of older patients (61.2% ≥ 55). Minor falls, including those from a bed or chair or from the same level accounted for nearly one half (46.2%) of the disabling injuries. Fifty-one disabled patients had isolated extremity or pelvic fractures. Their hospital stays ranged from 1 to 42 days and averaged 13.0 days. The proportion of elderly in the United States is increasing substantially. Because of the significant risk of death or serious disability to elderly patients, even with minor injuries, we conclude it is appropriate to include data for elderly patients with an ISS <10 who meet other registry inclusion criteria. We also recommend the entry of data for patients with an ISS <10 and significant disability at discharge who qualify by other criteria. Exclusion of remaining patients with an ISS <10 would reduce qualifying cases by 38%.

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