Mortality of trauma patients treated at trauma centers compared to non-trauma centers in Sweden: a retrospective study
Journal article, 2020
Objective: The main objective was to compare the 30-day mortality rate of trauma patients treated at trauma centers as compared to non-trauma centers in Sweden. The secondary objective was to evaluate how injury severity influences the potential survival benefit of specialized care. Methods: This retrospective study included 29,864 patients from the national Swedish Trauma Registry (SweTrau) during the period 2013–2017. Three sampling exclusion criteria were applied: (1) Injury Severity Score (ISS) of zero; (2) missing data in any variable of interest; (3) data falling outside realistic values and duplicate registrations. University hospitals were classified as trauma centers; other hospitals as non-trauma centers. Logistic regression was used to analyze the effect of trauma center care on mortality rate, while adjusting for other factors potentially affecting the risk of death. Results: Treatment at a trauma center in Sweden was associated with a 41% lower adjusted 30-day mortality (odds ratio 0.59 [0.50–0.70], p < 0.0001) compared to non-trauma center care, considering all injured patients (ISS ≥ 1). The potential survival benefit increased substantially with higher injury severity, with up to > 70% mortality decrease for the most critically injured group (ISS ≥ 50). Conclusions: There exists a potentially substantial survival benefit for trauma patients treated at trauma centers in Sweden, especially for the most severely injured. This study motivates a critical review and possible reorganization of the national trauma system, and further research to identify the characteristics of patients in most need of specialized care.