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Top Trauma Centers Still Have Preventable Complications

Critical areas for quality improvement identified

WEDNESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mature trauma centers have a low rate of preventable or potentially preventable complications, but there is still room for improvement in certain key areas of patient care, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Pedro G.R. Teixeira, M.D., of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a study of 35,311 trauma registry patients at an academic level I trauma center to ascertain the extent of preventable and nonpreventable complications.

The study lasted eight years and during that time 2,560 patients were affected by complications, of whom 351 (0.99 percent) had 403 complications that were deemed preventable or potentially preventable, the investigators found. Unintended extubation, surgical technical failures, missed injuries, and incidents related to intravascular catheters were the most common complications, the researchers note.

"Despite 24-hour coverage by attending trauma surgeons and an aggressive morbidity and mortality identification and review process with a loop closure program, preventable complications continue to occur at a mature trauma center. This is a clinically relevant problem, frequently resulting in changes in management," the authors write. "Ongoing identification and analysis of complications even at a mature trauma center are mandatory."

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