Objective To examine longitudinal trends in mortality for injured patients admitted to trauma centers.
Design, Setting, and Participants Retrospective cohort design of 208 866 patients admitted to level I or level II trauma centers in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2009 using the Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study database. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate the temporal trend for in-hospital mortality.
Main Outcome Measures Patients were stratified by injury severity to estimate mortality trends in patients with low-severity, moderate, severe, and very severe injuries.
Results Comparing 2000-2001 data with 2008-2009 data, the odds of mortality decreased by 29% (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.59-0.85) and the odds of major complications decreased by 32% (AOR = 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57-0.81). Between 2000 and 2009, the mortality rate for patients admitted with moderate trauma decreased by 42% (AOR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.46-0.71) and the mortality rate for patients with severe trauma decreased by 51% (AOR = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.40-0.60). Mortality rates for patients admitted with mild trauma or with very severe trauma did not change significantly during this period.
Conclusions In-hospital mortality and major complications for adult trauma patients admitted to level I or level II trauma centers declined by 30% between 2000 and 2009. After stratifying patients by injury severity, the mortality rate for patients presenting with moderate or severe injuries declined by 40% to 50%, whereas mortality rates remained unchanged in patients with the least severe or the most severe injuries.