Preinjury Status: Are Orthopaedic Trauma Patients Different Than the General Population?
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OBJECTIVE: To describe the preinjury health-related quality of life (HRQL) of orthopaedic trauma patients admitted to Level I trauma centers relative to the general population. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study using retrospectively collected preinjury HRQL measures. SETTING: Two Level I adult trauma centers in Melbourne, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2388 admitted orthopaedic trauma patients aged > or = 18 years were included, captured by the Victorian Orthopaedic Trauma Outcomes Registry (VOTOR) between October 2003 and January 2006. Patients with a significant head injury (Abbreviated Injury Scale severity score >2), dementia, mental illness, mental disability, who were non-English speakers, or who were postoperatively confused were excluded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: The 12-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-12). RESULTS: The preinjury SF-12 was obtained for 1839 patients [median (interquartile range) of 6 (3-12) days postinjury]. The VOTOR population reported mean physical SF-12 scores above population norms (50.9 vs. 48.9, P < 0.001). The differences were predominant in men and confined to patients aged 18 to 54 years. The mean mental SF-12 scores of the VOTOR population were also greater than population norms (54.5 vs. 52.4, P < 0.001) and this was most apparent for women. CONCLUSIONS: Establishing the preinjury HRQL of trauma patients is important for evaluating the quality of orthopaedic trauma patient outcomes. Reliance on population norms for this purpose may lead to an underestimation of the impact of injury in particular age and sex subgroups, but given the size of the differences seen, any underestimation would be small. Where individual preinjury data cannot be collected, population norms could be used as a reasonable estimate of preinjury patient status for assessing quality of recovery.
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