Influence of routine computed tomography on predicted survival from blunt thoracoabdominal trauma

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2011 Apr;37(2):185-90. doi: 10.1007/s00068-010-0042-9. Epub 2010 Jul 29.


Introduction: Many scoring systems have been proposed to predict the survival of trauma patients. This study was performed to evaluate the influence of routine thoracoabdominal computed tomography (CT) on the predicted survival according to the trauma injury severity score (TRISS).

Patients and methods: 1,047 patients who had sustained a high-energy blunt trauma over a 3-year period were prospectively included in the study. All patients underwent physical examination, conventional radiography of the chest, thoracolumbar spine and pelvis, abdominal sonography, and routine thoracoabdominal CT. From this group with routine CT, we prospectively defined a selective CT (sub)group for cases with abnormal physical examination and/or conventional radiography and/or sonography. Type and extent of injuries were recorded for both the selective and the routine CT groups. Based on the injuries found by the two different CT algorithms, we calculated the injury severity scores (ISS) and predicted survivals according to the TRISS methodology for the routine and the selective CT algorithms.

Results: Based on injuries detected by the selective CT algorithm, the mean ISS was 14.6, resulting in a predicted mortality of 12.5%. Because additional injuries were found by the routine CT algorithm, the mean ISS increased to 16.9, resulting in a predicted mortality of 13.7%. The actual observed mortality was 5.4%.

Conclusion: Routine thoracoabdominal CT in high-energy blunt trauma patients reveals more injuries than a selective CT algorithm, resulting in a higher ISS. According to the TRISS, this results in higher predicted mortalities. Observed mortality, however, was significantly lower than predicted. The predicted survival according to MTOS seems to underestimate the actual survival when routine CT is used.