Factors influencing lengths of stay in the intensive care unit for surviving trauma patients: a retrospective analysis of 30,157 cases

Crit Care. 2014 Jul 7;18(4):R143. doi: 10.1186/cc13976.


Introduction: There are many potential influencing factors that affect the duration of intensive care treatment for patients who have survived multiple trauma. Yet the respective factors' relevance to ICU length of stay (LOS) has been rarely studied. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate to what extent specific factors influence ICU LOS in surviving trauma patients.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a dataset of 30,157 surviving trauma patients from the TraumaRegister DGU® who were older than six years of age and received subsequent intensive care treatment for more than one day, from 2002 to 2011. Univariate analysis and multiple linear regression analysis were used to examine 25 categorical pre- and post-trauma parameters.

Results: Univariate analysis confirmed the impact of all analyzed factors. In subsequent multiple linear regression analyses, coefficients ranged from -1.3 to +8.2 days. The factors that influenced the prolongation of ICU LOS most were renal failure (+8.1 days), sepsis (+7.8 days) and respiratory failure (+4.9 days). Patients spent one additional day in the ICU for every 5 additional points on the Injury Severity Score (regression coefficient +0.2 per point). Furthermore, massive transfusion (+3.3 days), invasive ventilation (+3.1 days), and an initial Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤8 (+3.0 days) had a significant impact on ICU LOS. The coefficient of determination for the model was 44% (R2).

Conclusions: Treatment regimens, as well as secondary effects and complications of trauma and intensive care treatment, prolong ICU LOS more than the mechanism of trauma or pre-trauma patient conditions. Successful prevention of complicated courses of illness, such as sepsis and renal and respiratory failure, could significantly abbreviate the ICU stay in trauma patients. Therefore, the staff's attention should be focused on preventive strategies.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / trends*
  • Length of Stay / trends*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survivors*
  • Trauma Severity Indices*
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy
  • Young Adult