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Missed injuries in a level I trauma center

, : Missed injuries in a level I trauma center. Journal of Trauma 52(4): 715-719

Background: Major trauma presents major diagnostic and therapeutic problems. Any delay in providing the treatment necessary may lead to increased morbidity and mortality, prolonged length of hospital stay, and increased cost. This study was undertaken to determine the extent, contributing factors, and implication of missed injuries and relate them to the three surveys in a Danish Level I trauma center. Methods: The records of all major traumatized patients admitted to the Odense University Hospital from January 1996 through December 1999 have been studied to determine the extent and type of missed injuries. The initial examination is carried out by the trauma team in the A&E department according to standard protocols. Resuscitation is carried out according to Advanced Trauma Life Support principles and details are documented in the patient journal and in a special trauma journal. Results: Sixty-four of 786 patients (incidence, 8.1%) had 86 missed injuries. The missed injuries averaged 1.3 injuries per patient. There were 45 male and 19 female patients, with a median age of 33 years (range, 12-81 years). The median ISS was 17 (range, 4-50); 14%, 38%, and 48% of the injuries were missed in primary, secondary, and tertiary surveys, respectively. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that missed injuries can occur at any stage of the management of patients with major trauma. Repeated assessments, both clinical and radiologic, are mandatory to diminish the problem. In initial assessment, one still has to treat the greatest threat to life before complete diagnosis of all injuries, but alertness to evolving injuries must remain throughout the patient's stay in hospital.


PMID: 11956389

DOI: 10.1097/00005373-200204000-00018

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