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Open Access Research

The impact of shorter prehospital transport times on outcomes in patients with abdominal vascular injuries

Chad G Ball15*, Brian H Williams2, Clarisse Tallah3, Jeffrey P Salomone3 and David V Feliciano4

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Surgery, University of Calgary, Foothills Medical Center, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

2 Departments of Surgery, University of Texas – Southwestern Medical School, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, TX, USA

3 Departments of Surgery, Emory University, Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, GA, USA

4 Departments of Surgery, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

5 Foothills Medical Centre, 1403 – 29 Street NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes 2013, 7:11  doi:10.1186/1752-2897-7-11

Published: 21 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Most deaths in patients with abdominal vascular injuries (ABVI) are caused by exsanguination and irreversible shock. Therefore, time to definitive hemorrhage control is an important factor affecting survival. The study goals were: (1) document current outcomes in patients with ABVI, and (2) compare outcomes to those from the era preceding improvements in an urban prehospital system.

Methods

A retrospective review of all patients with ABVI at an urban level 1 trauma center was completed. Patients injured prior to prehospital transport improvements (1991–1994) were compared to those following a reduction in transport times (1995–2004).

Results

Of 388 patients, 70 (18%) arrived prior to prehospital improvements (1991–1994). Patient/injury demographics were similar in both groups (age, sex, penetrating mechanism; p > 0.05). The number of patients presenting with ABVI increased (23 vs. 35 per year; p < 0.05) concurrent to a reduction in transport times (27 vs. 20 minutes; p < 0.05). Patients were more frequently unstable (63% vs. 91%; p < 0.05). Regardless of the specific vessel, mortality increased (37% vs. 67%; p < 0.05) following prehospital improvements.

Conclusions

A reduction in urban transport times resulted in an increase in (1) the number of patients arriving with abdominal vascular injuries, (2) the proportion presenting in physiologic extremis, and (3) overall mortality.

Keywords:
Trauma; Abdominal vascular; Injuries; Prehospital; Transport; Time