A traumatic tale of two cities: a comparison of outcomes for adults with major trauma who present to differing trauma centres in neighbouring Canadian provinces

CJEM. 2018 Mar;20(2):191-199. doi: 10.1017/cem.2017.352. Epub 2017 Jul 13.


Objectives: While the use of formal trauma teams is widely promoted, the literature is not clear that this structure provides improved outcomes over emergency physician delivered trauma care. The goal of this investigation was to examine if a trauma team model with a formalized, specialty-based trauma team, with specific activation criteria and staff composition, performs differently than an emergency physician delivered model. Our primary outcome was survival to discharge or 30 days.

Methods: An observational registry-based study using aggregate data from both the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia trauma registries was performed with data from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2013. Inclusion criteria included patients 16 years-old and older who had an Injury Severity Score greater than 12, who suffered a kinetic injury and arrived with signs of life to a level-1 trauma centre.

Results: 266 patients from the trauma team model and 111 from the emergency physician model were compared. No difference was found in the primary outcome of proportion of survival to discharge or 30 days between the two systems (0.88, n=266 vs. 0.89, n=111; p=0.8608).

Conclusions: We were unable to detect any difference in survival between a trauma team and an emergency physician delivered model.

Keywords: outcomes; trauma systems; trauma teams.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Length of Stay / trends
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Brunswick / epidemiology
  • Nova Scotia / epidemiology
  • Registries*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy