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      Predictors of poor outcomes after significant chest trauma in multiply injured patients: a retrospective analysis from the German Trauma Registry (Trauma Register DGU®)


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          Blunt thoracic trauma is one of the critical injury mechanisms in multiply injured trauma victims. Although these patients present a plethora of potential structural damages to vital organs, it remains debated which injuries actually influence outcome and thereby should be addressed initially. Hence, the aim of this study was to identify the influence of critical structural damages on mortality.


          All patients in the database of the TraumaRegister DGU® (TR-DGU) from 2002–2011 with AIS Chest ≥ 2, blunt trauma, age of 16 or older and an ISS ≥ 16 were analyzed.

          Outcome parameters were in-hospital mortality as well as ventilation time in patients surviving the initial 14 days after trauma.


          22613 Patients were included (mean ISS 30.5 ± 12.6; 74.7% male; Mean Age 46.1 ± 197 years; mortality 17.5%; mean duration of ventilation 7.3 ± 11.5; mean ICU stay 11.7 ± 14.1 days).

          Only a limited number of specific injuries had a significant impact on survival. Major thoracic vessel injuries (AIS ≥5), bilateral lung contusion, bilateral flail chest, structural heart injury (AIS ≥3) significantly influence mortality in study patients. Several extrathoracic factors (age, blood transfusion, systolic blood pressure and extrathoracic severe injuries) were also predictive of increased mortality.

          Most injuries of the thoracic wall had no or only a moderate effect on the duration of ventilation. Injuries to the lung (laceration, contusion or pneumothoraces) had a moderate prolonging effect. Cardiac injuries and severe injuries to the thoracic vessels induced a substantially prolonged ventilation interval.


          We demonstrate quantitatively the influence of specific structural damages of the chest on critical outcome parameters. While most injuries of the chest wall have no or only limited impact in the study collective, injuries to the lung overall show adverse outcome. Injuries to the heart or thoracic vessels have a devastating prognosis following blunt chest trauma.

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          Most cited references27

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          Effect of whole-body CT during trauma resuscitation on survival: a retrospective, multicentre study.

          The number of trauma centres using whole-body CT for early assessment of primary trauma is increasing. There is no evidence to suggest that use of whole-body CT has any effect on the outcome of patients with major trauma. We therefore compared the probability of survival in patients with blunt trauma who had whole-body CT during resuscitation with those who had not. In a retrospective, multicentre study, we used the data recorded in the trauma registry of the German Trauma Society to calculate the probability of survival according to the trauma and injury severity score (TRISS), revised injury severity classification (RISC) score, and standardised mortality ratio (SMR, ratio of recorded to expected mortality) for 4621 patients with blunt trauma given whole-body or non-whole-body CT. 1494 (32%) of 4621 patients were given whole-body CT. Mean age was 42.6 years (SD 20.7), 3364 (73%) were men, and mean injury-severity score was 29.7 (13.0). SMR based on TRISS was 0.745 (95% CI 0.633-0.859) for patients given whole-body CT versus 1.023 (0.909-1.137) for those given non-whole-body CT (p<0.001). SMR based on the RISC score was 0.865 (0.774-0.956) for patients given whole-body CT versus 1.034 (0.959-1.109) for those given non-whole-body CT (p=0.017). The relative reduction in mortality based on TRISS was 25% (14-37) versus 13% (4-23) based on RISC score. Multivariate adjustment for hospital level, year of trauma, and potential centre effects confirmed that whole-body CT is an independent predictor for survival (p
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            Half-a-dozen ribs: the breakpoint for mortality.

            We hypothesized that the number of rib fractures independently impacted patient pulmonary morbidity and mortality. The National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB, v. 3.0 American College of Surgeons, Chicago, IL) was queried for patients sustaining 1 or more rib fractures. Data abstracted included the number of rib fractures by International Classification of Diseases-9 code, Injury Severity Score, the occurrence of pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary embolus, pneumothorax, aspiration pneumonia, empyema, and associated injuries by abbreviated injury score, the need for mechanical ventilation, number of ventilator days, intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS), hospital LOS, mortality, and use of epidural analgesia. Statistical analysis was performed using the Student t test and linear regression analysis. Statistical significance was defined as a P value of less than .05. The NTDB included 731,823 patients. Of these, 64,750 (9%) had a diagnosis of 1 or more fractured ribs. Thirteen percent (n = 8,473) of those with rib fractures developed 13,086 complications, of which 6,292 (48%) were related to a chest-wall injury. Mechanical ventilation was required in 60% of patients for an average of 13 days. Hospital LOS averaged 7 days and ICU LOS averaged 4 days. The overall mortality rate for patients with rib fractures was 10%. The mortality rate increased (P < .02) for each additional rib fracture. The same pattern was seen for the following morbidities: pneumonia (P < .01), acute respiratory distress syndrome (P < .01), pneumothorax (P < .01), aspiration pneumonia (P < .01), empyema (P < .04), ICU LOS (P < .01), and hospital LOS for up to 7 rib fractures (P < .01). An association between increasing hospital LOS and number of rib fractures was not shown (P = .19). Pulmonary embolism also was not related to the number of rib fractures (P = .06). Epidural analgesia was used in 2.2% (n = 1,295) of patients with rib fractures. A reduction in mortality with epidural analgesia was shown at 2, 4, and 6 through 8 rib fractures. The use of epidural analgesia had no impact on the frequency of pulmonary complications. When stratifying data by Injury Severity Score and the presence or absence of rib fractures the mortality rates were similar. Increasing the number of rib fractures correlated directly with increasing pulmonary morbidity and mortality. Patients sustaining fractures of 6 or more ribs are at significant risk for death from causes unrelated to the rib fractures. Epidural analgesia was associated with a reduction in mortality for all patients sustaining rib fractures, particularly those with more than 4 fractures, but this modality of treatment appears to be underused.
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              Risk factors that predict mortality in patients with blunt chest wall trauma: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

              The risk factors for mortality following blunt chest wall trauma have neither been well established or summarised. To summarise the risk factors for mortality in blunt chest wall trauma patients based on available evidence in the literature. A systematic review of English and non-English articles using MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library from their introduction until May 2010. Additional studies were identified by hand-searching bibliographies and contacting relevant clinical experts. Grey literature was sought by searching abstracts from all Emergency Medicine conferences. Broad search terms and inclusion criteria were used to reduce the number of missed studies. A two step study selection process was used. All published and unpublished observational studies were included if they investigated estimates of association between a risk factor and mortality for blunt chest wall trauma patients. A two step data extraction process using pre-defined data fields, including study quality indicators. Each study was appraised using a previously designed quality assessment tool and the STROBE checklist. Where sufficient data were available, odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using Mantel-Haenszel method for the risk factors investigated. The I(2) statistic was calculated for combined studies in order to assess heterogeneity. Age, number of rib fractures, presence of pre-existing disease and pneumonia were found to be related to mortality in 29 identified studies. Combined odds ratio of 1.98 (1.86-2.11, 95% CI), 2.02 (1.89-2.15, 95% CI), 2.43 (1.03-5.72, 95% CI) and 5.24 (3.51-7.82) for mortality were calculated for blunt chest wall trauma patients aged 65 years or more, with three or more rib fractures, pre-existing conditions and pneumonia respectively. The risk factors for mortality in patients sustaining blunt chest wall trauma were a patient age of 65 years or more, three or more rib fractures and the presence of pre-existing disease especially cardiopulmonary disease. The development of pneumonia post injury was also a significant risk factor for mortality. As a result of the variable quality in the studies, the results of the selected studies should be interpreted with caution. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med
                Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med
                Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
                BioMed Central
                3 September 2014
                : 22
                : 52
                [1 ]Department of Trauma Surgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University Munich - TUM, Ismaninger Str. 22, Munich, D-81675, Germany
                [2 ]IFOM – Institute for Research in Operative Medicine, University Witten/Herdecke, Faculty of Health, Ostmerheimer Str. 200, Cologne, D-51109, Germany
                [3 ]Department of General, Vascular, Transplantation and Thoracic Surgery- Grosshadern Campus, Munich University Hospital (LMU), Marchioninistr. 15, Munich, D-81377, Germany
                [4 ]Institute for Emergency Medicine and Medical Management, University of Munich, Schillerstr. 53, Munich, D-80336, Germany
                Committee on Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care and Trauma Management (Sektion NIS) of the German Trauma Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Unfallchirurgie ,DGU), Munich, Germany
                Copyright © 2014 Huber et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 28 May 2014
                : 21 August 2014
                Original Research

                Emergency medicine & Trauma
                polytrauma,blunt chest trauma,severly injured,outcome,chest wall injury,iss,mortality,ventilation


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