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Are Trauma Team Activations Essential and Cost Effective for Rollover Crashes?

Published April 12, 2010 by SAE International in United States
Are Trauma Team Activations Essential and Cost Effective for Rollover Crashes?
Citation: Aldaghlas, T., Burke, C., Sheridan, M., Stadter, G. et al., "Are Trauma Team Activations Essential and Cost Effective for Rollover Crashes?," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars – Mech. Syst. 3(1):481-487, 2010,
Language: English


Background: Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of death for ages 2-34 years. Rollover (RO) is defined as any vehicle rotation of ≥90° about any longitudinal or lateral axis occurring. The purpose of this study was to determine the cost effectiveness of RO mechanism as the sole triage criteria.
Methods: Detailed patient injury, demographics, costs and crash information were obtained on patients ≻16 years and seen at an ACS COT-verified level I trauma center from 2007-2008. Analysis was performed using SPSS v 17.
Results: 257 RO crash occupants were treated at this study center. The frequency of AIS ≤2 in these RO occupants was 74%. 62% (133/214) of patients triaged as partial TTA (PTTA) were discharged from the emergency department (ED), whereas all full TTA (FTTA) patients were admitted. 60% of all RO patients were reported to have utilized seat belts. Seat belt use decreased the risk of injury by four-fold (95% CI, 2.14-8.01). No other patient or crash characteristics contributed to this excess triage rate. Based on an average cost of $6,000/TTA and our excess ED discharge rate exceeding the accepted national average rate of 37%, this trauma center could save $498,000/year. Applying the same cost analysis to the NASS database could save $190 million annually to the trauma systems nationally.
Conclusion: Consideration of physiometric data, and seat belt use in the triage of non-critically injured RO occupants could potentially save this trauma center up to $2.5 million over a five-year period and approximately $0.95 billion dollars for the trauma systems nationwide over the same period.