Archive for March, 2011

NTI Joins TATRC to Discuss National Trauma Research Strategy

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

An article published today in dcmilitary.com, an electronic military publication, reports on a recent meeting convened by TATRC (U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center) to put together a coaltion of federal and military agencies and civilian institutions to tackle the trauma research problem.

The National Trauma Institute was at the table along with members of the Combat Casualty Care Research Area Directorate and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research to discuss ways to work together to bring more cohesion to the national research agenda. The meeting represented a first step. TATRC Deputy Director Col. Ron Poropatich said, “We are all ready to take it to the next level to meet the challenges and opportunities of today and the future.“

Access to Trauma Surgeons Key to Survival

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine found a significant inverse association between the number of available surgeons and the number of road traffic injury-related deaths — especially in rural areas. “The data suggest that better access through trauma systems and an available supply of trauma surgeons are key factors affecting outcomes, and should be a priority for health care reform,” study co-author Dr. Raul Coimbra of the University of California, San Diego, Health System and vice-chair of the American College of Surgeons’ committee on trauma, said.

The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Read more.

Trauma Patients More Likely to Survive on the Weekend

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

A study published in the March 21 issue of the Archives of Surgery found evidence that victims of traumatic injury are more likely to survive if they arrive at a hospital over the weekend, as opposed to during the week. The findings contrast with other studies that have found a “weekend effect” for victims of emergency illnesses like heart attacks and strokes, where weekend admittance is associated with higher rates of death.

The study’s lead author, Brendan G. Carr, MD, MS, an assistant professor in the departments of Emergency Medicine and Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, suggests that the finding might point to the fact that trauma systems in the US have been built to get patients to the right facility as quickly as possible.

“Patients must rely on the system to quickly get them to the place that’s best prepared to save their lives,” he said. “Trauma systems have been designed to maximize rapid access to trauma care, and our results show that the system also offers special protection for patients injured during periods that are known to be connected to worse outcomes among patients with time-sensitive illnesses.”

Unlike most other medical and surgical specialties — in which staffing and resources vary on nights and weekends — trauma centers are required to have these resources immediately available at all times. Read more about the study.

Study Finds Discharge to Skilled Nursing Facility, Among Other Indicators of Increased Mortality Risk for Trauma Patients

Monday, March 21st, 2011

A study conducted by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle and published in the March edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), sought to identify predictors of death following release from a hospital after a traumatic injury. Of the more than 124,000 patients in their study, cumulative mortality following injury was 9.8 percent at one year and 16 percent at three years. Age and discharge to a skilled nursing facility strongly predicted risk of death during the follow-up period and time to death following injury.

The study found that discharge to a skilled nursing facility may at least be a marker for significantly higher risk of subsequent mortality and may be the focus for future research and intervention. “There are significant differences in physical therapy and occupational therapy for patients in rehabilitation programs compared with patients at skilled nursing facilities, even when comparing similar demographic characteristics and medical complexity,” the researchers indicated.

Other considerable predictors of death after discharge included a maximum score for head injury on an injury scale, a measure of functional independence, the mechanism for injury being a fall, and having Medicare or other government insurance.

“Interventions should be aimed at improving the care of the injured patient following discharge from the hospital and narrow the gap in outcomes for those patients discharged to skilled nursing facilities,” the authors of the study conclude. Read More.

NTI Board Member Advocates for Trauma Research Funding in Op-Ed

Friday, March 11th, 2011

In an op-ed published in the Tacoma News-Tribune today, Dr. Gregory Jurkovich, chief of trauma service at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and an NTI Board member, educates readers that advances in trauma care that saves lives are not a given. Civilian hospitals have benefitted from what is being learned on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, but a concerted and cooridinated research effort here at home is hindered by lack of a system to coordinate large-scale clinical trials and to direct and focus a research agenda.

Jurkovich reminds readers that traumatic injury is the number one killer of Americans under 44 and accounts for $700 billion every year in medical costs, productivity losses and disability–and yet it has no dedicated research center at NIH and no steady funding through any other Congressional avenue.

In advocating for a dedicated center at NIH or full funding of the National Trauma Center, which is already in position to do the job, Jurkovich says, “The odds are many of us will be fortunate enough to avoid traumatic injury during the course of our lives. But many of us won’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to know if something happens to you or someone you love that the latest in technology and science is available to increase your chances of survival? I want that for my family, my patients and the next generation of our country.”

Read the entire op-ed.

Military Medical Facility Opens in San Antonio

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Combining the medical research teams from the Army, Navy and Air Force, the Battlefield Health and Trauma Research Institute opened last week at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. Collaboration among the service branches is expected to benefit not only military combat casualties, but also civilians across the country.

Watch a KSAT story on the new facility.