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      A National Evaluation of the Effect of Trauma-Center Care on Mortality

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          Abstract

          Hospitals have difficulty justifying the expense of maintaining trauma centers without strong evidence of their effectiveness. To address this gap, we examined differences in mortality between level 1 trauma centers and hospitals without a trauma center (non-trauma centers). Mortality outcomes were compared among patients treated in 18 hospitals with a level 1 trauma center and 51 hospitals non-trauma centers located in 14 states. Patients 18 to 84 years old with a moderate-to-severe injury were eligible. Complete data were obtained for 1104 patients who died in the hospital and 4087 patients who were discharged alive. We used propensity-score weighting to adjust for observable differences between patients treated at trauma centers and those treated at non-trauma centers. After adjustment for differences in the case mix, the in-hospital mortality rate was significantly lower at trauma centers than at non-trauma centers (7.6 percent vs. 9.5 percent; relative risk, 0.80; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.66 to 0.98), as was the one-year mortality rate (10.4 percent vs. 13.8 percent; relative risk, 0.75; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.60 to 0.95). The effects of treatment at a trauma center varied according to the severity of injury, with evidence to suggest that differences in mortality rates were primarily confined to patients with more severe injuries. Our findings show that the risk of death is significantly lower when care is provided in a trauma center than in a non-trauma center and argue for continued efforts at regionalization. Copyright 2006 Massachusetts Medical Society.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Marginal Structural Models and Causal Inference in Epidemiology

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            Access to trauma centers in the United States.

            Previous studies have reported that the number and distribution of trauma centers are uneven across states, suggesting large differences in access to trauma center care. To estimate the proportion of US residents having access to trauma centers within 45 and 60 minutes. Cross-sectional study using data from 2 national databases as part of the Trauma Resource Allocation Model for Ambulances and Hospitals (TRAMAH) project. Trauma centers, base helipads, and block group population were counted for all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of January 2005. Percentages of national, regional, and state populations having access to all 703 level I, II, and III trauma centers in the United States by either ground ambulance or helicopter within 45 and 60 minutes. An estimated 69.2% and 84.1% of all US residents had access to a level I or II trauma center within 45 and 60 minutes, respectively. The 46.7 million Americans who had no access within an hour lived mostly in rural areas, whereas the 42.8 million Americans who had access to 20 or more level I or II trauma centers within an hour lived mostly in urban areas. Within 45 and 60 minutes, respectively, 26.7% and 27.7% of US residents had access to level I or II trauma centers by helicopter only and 1.9% and 3.1% of US residents had access to level I or II centers only from trauma centers or base helipads outside their home states. Selecting trauma centers based on geographic need, appropriately locating medical helicopter bases, and establishing formal agreements for sharing trauma care resources across states should be considered to improve access to trauma care in the United States.
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              A Modification of the Injury Severity Score That Both Improves Accuracy and Simplifies Scoring

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                January 26 2006
                January 26 2006
                : 354
                : 4
                : 366-378
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMsa052049
                16436768
                © 2006
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