Does increased prehospital time lead to a "trial of life" effect for patients with blunt trauma?

Research paper by Thomas W TW Clements, Kelly K Vogt, S Morad SM Hameed, Neil N Parry, Andrew W AW Kirkpatrick, Sean C SC Grondin, Elijah E Dixon, Jessica J McKee, Chad G CG Ball

Indexed on: 16 Aug '17Published on: 16 Aug '17Published in: Journal of Surgical Research


Variance in prehospital time among severely injured blunt trauma patients is dependent upon numerous factors. Effects on subsequent mortality and trauma team activation (TTA) rates are also unclear. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between prehospital time and mortality at level I trauma referral centers amongst critically blunt injured patients.This multiinstitutional study from three geographically distinct level I trauma centers analyzed all severely blunt injured patients (Injury Severity Score [ISS] ≥12). The relationship between prehospital time and survival was evaluated. Secondary outcomes included the association between prehospital time and TTA. Standard statistical methodology was used (P < 0.05 = significance).Between January 1, 2011, and January 1, 2016, 5375 severely blunt injured patients (mean ISS = 25; mean length of stay = 16.3 d) were analyzed (center 1 = 3376; center 2 = 2401; and center 3 = 1104). As prehospital time interval increased, overall mortality decreased (0-30 min = 24.1%; 31-60 min = 14.7%; 61-90 min = 10.3%; 91-120 min = 10.4%; 121-150 min = 10.2%; P < 0.05). This pattern was especially strong for patients with an arrival measurement of hypotension, despite corrections for ISS (P < 0.05). TTA and patient outcomes were extremely variable across intervals and centers (P < 0.05).A trial of life effect is present for severely blunt injured patients who arrive with vital signs. Despite arrival measurements of hypotension, patients with prolonged prehospital times have a substantially lower risk of subsequent mortality. This concept should contribute to decision-making with regard to TTA.