Background: Significant differences in outcomes have been demonstrated between Level I trauma centers. Usually these differences are ascribed to regional or administrative differences, although the influence of variation in clinical practice is rarely considered. This study was undertaken to determine whether differences in early mortality of patients receiving a massive transfusion (MT, ≥ 10 units pf RBCs within 24 hours of admission) persist after adjustment for patient and transfusion practice differences. We hypothesized differences among centers in 24-hour mortality could predominantly be accounted for by differences in transfusion practices as well as patient characteristics.
Methods: Data were retrospectively collected over a 1-year period from 15 Level I centers on patients receiving an MT. A purposeful variable selection strategy was used to build the final multivariable logistic model to assess differences between centers in 24-hour mortality. Adjusted odds ratios for each center were calculated.
Results: : There were 550 patients evaluated, but only 443 patients had complete data for the set of variables included in the final model. Unadjusted mortality varied considerably across centers, ranging from 10% to 75%. Multivariable logistic regression identified injury severity score (ISS), abbreviated injury scale (AIS) of the chest, admission base deficit, admission heart rate, and total units of RBC transfused, as well as ratios of plasma:RBC and platelet:RBC to be associated with 24-hour mortality. After adjusting for severity of injury and transfusion, treatment variables between center differences were no longer significant.
Conclusions: In the defined population of patients receiving an MT, between-center differences in 24-hour mortality may be accounted for by severity of injury as well as transfusion practices.