Outcomes and costs of blunt trauma in England and Wales

Crit Care. 2008;12(1):R23. doi: 10.1186/cc6797. Epub 2008 Feb 19.


Background: Trauma represents an important public health concern in the United Kingdom, yet the acute costs of blunt trauma injury have not been documented and analysed in detail. Knowledge of the overall costs of trauma care, and the drivers of these costs, is a prerequisite for a cost-conscious approach to improvement in standards of trauma care, including evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of new healthcare technologies.

Methods: Using the Trauma Audit Research Network database, we examined patient records for persons aged 18 years and older hospitalised for blunt trauma between January 2000 and December 2005. Patients were stratified by the Injury Severity Score (ISS).

Results: A total of 35,564 patients were identified; 60% with an ISS of 0 to 9, 17% with an ISS of 10 to 16, 12% with an ISS of 17 to 25, and 11% with an ISS of 26 to 75. The median age was 46 years and 63% of patients were men. Falls were the most common cause of injury (50%), followed by road traffic collisions (33%). Twenty-nine percent of patients were admitted to critical care for a median length of stay of 4 days. The median total hospital length of stay was 9 days, and 69% of patients underwent at least one surgical procedure. Seven percent of the patients died before discharge, with the highest proportion of deaths among those in the ISS 26-75 group (32%). The mean hospital cost per person was 9,530 pounds sterling (+/- 11,872). Costs varied significantly by Glasgow Coma Score, ISS, age, cause of injury, type of injury, hospital mortality, grade and specialty of doctor seen in the accident and emergency department, and year of admission.

Conclusion: The acute treatment costs of blunt trauma in England and Wales vary significantly by injury severity and survival, and public health initiatives that aim to reduce both the incidence and severity of blunt trauma are likely to produce significant savings in acute trauma care. The largest component of acute hospital cost is determined by the length of stay, and measures designed to reduce length of admissions are likely to be the most effective in reducing the costs of blunt trauma care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitalization / economics*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Distribution
  • Wales / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / classification*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / economics
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology