The volume-outcome relationship led to the regionalization of trauma care. The relationship between trauma centers’ injury-specific laparotomy volume and outcomes has not been explored. The aim of our study was to examine the relationship between a trauma center’s injury-specific laparotomy volume and outcomes in blunt and penetrating trauma patients.
We performed a (2017) analysis of the Trauma Quality Improvement Program database. We included adult (age, ≥18 years) blunt and penetrating trauma patients who required emergent laparotomies for hemorrhage control. Trauma centers were stratified based on their blunt and penetrating laparotomy volumes: high volume (HV), ≥25 cases per year; medium volume (MV), 13 to 24 cases per year; and low volume (LV), ≤12 cases per year. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to explore predictors of in-hospital mortality.
A total of 8,588 patients underwent emergent laparotomy for either blunt (4,936; 57.5%) or penetrating injuries (3,652; 42.5%). Overall, mean ± SD age was 40 ± 17 years, abdomen Abbreviated Injury Scale was 3 (2–4), and Injury Severity Score was 26 (17–35). For American College of Surgeons (ACS) level I centers, 50% were HV; 29%, MV; and 21%, LV. For ACS level II centers, 7% were HV; 23%, MV; and 70%, LV. For ACS level III centers, 100% were LV. On multivariate regression analysis, admission of blunt and penetrating trauma patients to HV blunt and HV penetrating centers, respectively, was independently associated with improved in-hospital mortality. High-volume blunt centers had a significantly lower time to laparotomy (72 [41–144] minutes) versus MV (81 [49–145] minutes) and LV (94 [56–158] minutes) centers (p < 0.001). The same trend was observed for HV penetrating trauma centers (35 [24–52] minutes) versus MV (46 [33–63] minutes) and LV (51 [38–69] minutes) centers (p < 0.001).
Blunt and penetrating injury patients requiring emergent laparotomy had higher survival when admitted to trauma centers with HV operative experience for their particular mechanism of injury. The regionalization of trauma care should be based on a thorough evaluation of trauma centers’ injury-specific operative experience.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Prognostic, Level III; Therapeutic/Care management, Level IV.