Impact of US hospital center and interhospital transfer on spinal cord injury management: An analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank.
BACKGROUND: Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is a serious public health problem. Outcomes are determined by severity of immediate injury, mitigation of secondary downstream effects, and rehabilitation. This study aimed to understand how the center type a patient presents to and whether they are transferred influence management and outcome. METHODS: The National Trauma Data Bank was used to identify patients with SCI. The primary objective was to determine association between center type, transfer, and surgical intervention. A secondary objective was to determine association between center type, transfer, and surgical timing. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit on surgical intervention and timing of the surgery as binary variables, adjusting for relevant clinical and demographic variables. RESULTS: There were 11,744 incidents of SCI identified. A total of 2,883 patients were transferred to a Level I center and 4,766 presented directly to a level I center. Level I center refers to level I trauma center. Those who were admitted directly to level I centers had a higher odd of receiving a surgery (odds ratio, 1.703; 95% confidence interval, 1.47-1.97; p < 0.001), but there was no significant difference in terms of timing of surgery. Patients transferred into a level I center were also more likely to undergo surgery than those at a level II/III/IV center, although this was not significant (odds ratio, 1.213; 95% confidence interval, 0.099-1.48; p = 0.059). CONCLUSION: Patients with traumatic SCI admitted to level I trauma centers were more likely to have surgery, particularly if they were directly admitted to a level I center. This study provides insights into a large US sample and sheds light on opportunities for improving pre hospital care pathways for patients with traumatic SCI, to provide the timely and appropriate care and achieve the best possible outcomes. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Care management, Level IV.
Williamson, T; Hodges, S; Yang, LZ; Lee, H-J; Gabr, M; Ugiliweneza, B; Boakye, M; Shaffrey, CI; Goodwin, CR; Karikari, IO; Lad, S; Abd-El-Barr, M
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