Background: We investigated the incidence and severity of post-injury morbidity and mortality in intensive care unit (ICU)-treated trauma patients. We also identified risk factors in the early phase after injury that predicted the later development of complications.
Methods: A prospective observational cohort study design was used. One hundred and sixty-four adult patients admitted to the ICU for more than 24 h were included during a 21-month period. The incidence and severity of morbidity such as multiple organ failure (MOF), acute lung injury (ALI), severe sepsis and 30-day post-injury mortality were calculated and risk factors were analyzed with uni- and multivariable logistic regression analysis.
Results: The median age was 40 years, the injury severity score was 24, the new injury severity score was 29, the acute physiology and chronic health evaluation II score was 15, sequential organ failure assessment maximum was 7 and ICU length of stay was 3.1 days. The incidences of post-injury MOF were 40.2%, ALI 25.6%, severe sepsis 31.1% and 30-day mortality 10.4%. The independent risk factors differed to some extent between the outcome parameters. Age, severity of injury, significant head injury and massive transfusion were independent risk factors for several outcome parameters. Positive blood alcohol was only a predictor of MOF, whereas prolonged rescue time only predicted death. Unexpectedly, injury severity was not an independent risk factor for mortality.
Conclusions: Although the incidence of morbidity was considerable, mortality was relatively low. Early post-injury risk factors that predicted later development of complications differed between morbidity and mortality.