BACKGROUND: The optimal level of care for hemodynamically stable patients with isolated blunt hepatic, renal, or splenic injuries (solid organ injuries [SOIs]) is unknown. We sought to characterize interhospital variability in intensive care unit (ICU) admission of such patients and to determine whether greater hospital-level ICU use would be associated with improved outcomes. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using the 2015 and 2016 National Trauma Data Bank. We included adult patients with blunt trauma with SOIs with an Abbreviated Injury Scale score of 2 to 4. We excluded patients with other significant injuries, hypotension, or another indication for ICU admission, and hospitals with less than 10 eligible patients. We categorized hospitals into quartiles based on the proportion of eligible patients admitted to an ICU. The primary outcome was a composite of organ failure (cardiac arrest, acute lung injury/acute respiratory failure, or acute kidney injury), infection (sepsis, pneumonia, or catheter-related blood stream infection), or death during hospitalization. RESULTS: Among 14,312 patients at 444 facilities, 7,225 (50%), 5,050 (35%), and 3,499 (24%) had splenic, hepatic, and renal injuries, respectively. The median proportion of ICU use was 44% (interquartile range, 27-59%, range 0-95%). The composite outcome occurred in 180 patients (1.3%), with death in 76 (0.5%), organ failure in 97 (0.7%), and infection in 53 (0.4%). Relative to hospitals with the lowest ICU use (quartile 1), greater hospital-level ICU use was not associated with decreased likelihood of the composite outcome (adjusted odds ratios, 1.31; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.88-1.95; 0.81; 95% CI, 0.52-1.26; and 0.94; 95% CI, 0.62-1.43 for quartiles 2-4, respectively) or its components. Unplanned ICU transfer was no more likely with lower hospital-level ICU use. CONCLUSION: Admission location of stable patients with isolated mild to moderate abdominal SOIs is variable across hospitals, but hospitalization at a facility with greater ICU use is not associated with substantially improved outcomes. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic/care management, Level IV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine