Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Preliminary analysis of the care of injured patients in 33 British hospitals: first report of the United Kingdom major trauma outcome study.

British Medical Journal 1992; 305 doi: (Published 26 September 1992) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1992;305:737
  1. D. W. Yates,
  2. M. Woodford,
  3. S. Hollis
  1. University of Manchester, Hope Hospital, Salford.


    OBJECTIVE--To measure the effectiveness of management of major trauma in the United Kingdom. DESIGN--Review of the care of all seriously injured patients seen over two years. SETTING--33 hospitals which receive patients who have sustained major trauma. SUBJECTS--14,648 injured patients admitted for more than three days, transferred or admitted into an intensive care bed, or dying from their injuries. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Death or survival in hospital within three months of the injury. RESULTS--21% of seriously injured patients (1299) took longer than one hour to reach hospital. Time before arrival at hospital was not related to severity of injury. A senior house officer was in charge of initial hospital resuscitation in 57% (826/1445) of patients with an injury severity score > or = 16. More senior staff were commonly responsible for definitive operations, but only 46% (165/355) of patients judged to require early operation arrived in theatre within two hours. Mortality for 6111 patients sustaining blunt trauma and treated in the 14 busiest hospitals was significantly higher (actual 408, predicted 295.6, p < 0.001) than in a comparable North American dataset. Large differences in the 14 hospitals assessed could not be explained by variations in case load or facilities. In contrast, the outcome of the 4.1% (597) of patients with penetrating injuries was better than that of a comparable group in the United States. Analysis of the 415 penetrating injuries with complete data showed that 15 patients died (19.3 predicted; p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS--The initial management of major trauma in the United Kingdom remains unsatisfactory. There are delays in providing experienced staff and timely operations. Mortality varies inexplicably between hospitals and, for blunt trauma, is generally higher than in the United States.