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Trauma Survival Margin Analysis: A Dissection of Trauma Center Performance through Initial Lactate

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Measurement of trauma center performance presently relies on W-score calculation and comparison to national data sets. A limitation to this practice is a skewing of the W score, as it determines overall performance of a trauma population that is often heavily weighted by patients of low acuity. The University of Virginia relative mortality metric (RMM) was formulated to provide higher resolution in identifying areas of performance improvement within subpopulations of a trauma center using traditional Trauma Injury Severity Score methodology. Lactic acidosis has been established as a risk factor for mortality in the setting of trauma. This study aims to compare survival margin, defined as the area between actual and predicted mortality curves, in patients with either normal or elevated initial lactate. W score and RMM were calculated and compared in these cohorts. Whereas the W score suggested increased survival within the high initial lactate group, the RMM demonstrated the expected finding of increased survival margin in the normal lactate cohort. The RMM is a potentially valuable tool for trauma centers to monitor and improve performance. In addition, these findings validate the use of lactate as a triage and risk adjustment tool in the trauma setting.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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