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A Massive Pulmonary Embolism Treatment Protocol: How Trauma Performance Improvement Affects Outcome Throughout the Hospital System

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Trauma performance improvement is the hallmark of a mature trauma center. If loop closure is to be complete, preventable deaths must result in significant change in management and the establishment of protocol-driven improvements so such an instance does not recur. The trauma performance improvement committee reviewed a case of a massive pulmonary embolus and determined that this was a preventable death. The hospital performance improvement committee then initiated a root cause analysis, which led to creation of a treatment protocol for patients with massive or submassive pulmonary embolism. A focused review of the first 6 months of the implementation of the protocol was undertaken. Four patients over a 6-month period had massive or submassive pulmonary embolus. All four had sudden death or near sudden death and were appropriately resuscitated. All four sustained right heart failure. Two patients were treated by catheter-directed fibrinolysis, one with catheter-directed suction embolectomy, and one by surgical pulmonary embolectomy. All survived with full neurologic function. Trauma performance improvement is the model by which all hospital performance improvement should be done. Preventable deaths can result in change, which can have a future impact on survival in potentially lethal scenarios.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departments of Surgery, Anesthesiology/Critical Care, and Hematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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