Background: Outcome prediction models are widely used to evaluate trauma care. External benchmarking provides individual institutions with a tool to compare survival with a reference dataset. However, these models do have limitations. In this study, the hypothesis was tested whether specific injuries are associated with increased mortality and whether differences in case-mix of these injuries influence outcome comparison.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in a Dutch trauma region. Injury profiles, based on injuries most frequently endured by unexpected death, were determined. The association between these injury profiles and mortality was studied in patients with a low Injury Severity Score by logistic regression. The standardized survival of our population (Ws statistic) was compared with North-American and British reference databases, with and without patients suffering from previously defined injury profiles.
Results: In total, 14,811 patients were included. Hip fractures, minor pelvic fractures, femur fractures, and minor thoracic injuries were significantly associated with mortality corrected for age, sex, and physiologic derangement in patients with a low injury severity. Odds ratios ranged from 2.42 to 2.92. The Ws statistic for comparison with North-American databases significantly improved after exclusion of patients with these injuries. The Ws statistic for comparison with a British reference database remained unchanged.
Conclusions: Hip fractures, minor pelvic fractures, femur fractures, and minor thoracic wall injuries are associated with increased mortality. Comparative outcome analysis of a population with a reference database that differs in case-mix with respect to these injuries should be interpreted cautiously.
Level of evidence: Prognostic study, level II.