Pulmonary Complications In Trauma: Another Bellwether For Failure To Rescue?

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Pulmonary complications are the most common adverse event after injury and second greatest cause of failure to rescue (death after pulmonary complications). It is not known whether readily accessible trauma center data can be used to stratify center-level performance for various complications. Performance variation between trauma centers would allow sharing of best practices among otherwise similar hospitals. We hypothesized that high-, average-, and low-performing centers for pulmonary complication and failure to rescue could be identified and that hospital factors associated with success and failure could be discovered.

Methods: Pennsylvania state trauma registry data (2007-2015) were abstracted for pulmonary complications. Burns and age <17 were excluded. Multivariable logistic regression models were developed for pulmonary complication and failure to rescue, using demographics, comorbidities, and injuries/physiology. Expected event rates were compared with observed rates to identify outliers. Center-level variables associated with outcomes of interest were taken from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey Database and assessed for inclusion.

Results: Included in the study were 283,121 patients (male [60%] blunt trauma [92%]). Of these patients, 3% (8,381 of 283,121) developed pulmonary complications (center-level range 0.18%-5.8%). The percentage of failure-to-rescue patients was 13.4% (1,120/8,381, center-level range 0.0%-22.6%). For pulmonary complications, 13 out of 27 centers were high performers (95% CI for O:E ratio <1) and 7 out of 27 were low (95% CI for an O:E ratio >1). For failure-to-rescue patients, 2 out of 27 centers were low performers and the remainder average. There was little concordance between performance for pulmonary complications and failure to rescue. Research programs, large non-teaching hospitals, those with advanced practice providers, and those with health maintenance organizations had reduced failure-to-rescue patients.

Conclusion: Factors associated with complications were distinct from those affecting failure to rescue and center-level success in reducing complications often did not translate into success in preventing death once they occurred. Our data demonstrate that high- and low-performing centers and the factors driving success or failure are identifiable. This work serves as a guide for comparing practices and improving outcomes with readily available data.