These results come from a study that is among the first to provide strong evidence of the effectiveness of spezialized trauma-care facilities. “Hospitals have difficulty justifying the expense of maintaining trauma centers without strong evidence of their effectiveness. Now we have conclusive data to show that trauma care is effective,” said Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “The findings of this study argue strongly for continued efforts at regionalizing trauma care at the state and local levels to assure that patients who suffer serious injuries get to a trauma center where they are afforded the best possible care.”

The National Study on the Costs and Outcomes of Trauma analyzed the outcomes of 5,190 adult trauma patients who received treatment at 18 level 1 trauma centers, which is the highest level of care, and 51 non-trauma centers. The researchers also analyzed the characteristics of each hospital, such as the number of patients treated and types of specialty services available.

After adjusting for factors such as severity of injury, patient age and pre-existing medical conditions, the researchers found a 25 percent overall decrease in the risk of death following care in a trauma center compared to receiving care at a non-trauma center. The adjusted in-hospital death rate was 7.6 percent for patients treated at trauma centers compared to 9.5 percent for patients treated at non-trauma facilities. The mortality rate one year following the injury was 10.4 percent for patients at trauma centers compared to 13.8 percent for patients at non-trauma centers. The researchers also noted that the effect of treatment at trauma centers was less significant among older patients with underlying health problems.

MEDICA.de; Source: Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health