Are all trauma centers created equally? A statewide analysis

Acad Emerg Med. 2010 Jul;17(7):701-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00786.x.


Objectives: Prior work has shown differences in mortality at different levels of trauma centers (TCs). There are limited data comparing mortality of equivalently verified TCs. This study sought to assess the potential differences in mortality as well as discharge destination (discharge to home vs. to a rehabilitation center or skilled nursing facility) across Level I TCs in the state of Ohio.

Methods: This was a retrospective, multicenter, statewide analysis of a state trauma registry of American College of Surgeons (ACS)-verified Level I TCs from 2003 to 2006. All adult (>15 years) patients transferred from the scene to one of the 10 Level I TCs throughout the state were included (n = 16,849). Multivariable logistic regression models were developed to assess for differences in mortality, keeping each TC as a fixed-effect term and adjusting for patient demographics, injury severity, mechanism of injury, and emergency medical services and emergency department procedures. Outcomes included in-hospital mortality and discharge destination (home vs. rehabilitation center or skilled nursing facility). Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for each TC were also calculated.

Results: Considerable variability existed in unadjusted mortality between the centers, from 3.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.7% to 3.9%) to 24.2% (95% CI = 24.1% to 24.3%), despite similar patient characteristics and injury severity. Adjusted mortality had similar variability as well, ranging from an OR of 0.93 (95% CI = 0.47 to 1.84) to an OR of 6.02 (95% CI= 3.70 to 9.79). Similar results were seen with the secondary outcomes (discharge destination).

Conclusions: There is considerable variability in the mortality of injured patients at Level I TCs in the state of Ohio. The patient differences or care processes responsible for this variation should be explored.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers / organization & administration*
  • Trauma Centers / standards
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*