Many trauma patients undergo advanced diagnostic imaging before being transferred to a regional trauma centre, but this step can delay definitive care. This study compared the length-of-stay at the primary hospital between patients who underwent CT scans and those who did not.
This was a medical record review of all consecutive trauma cases transferred to a regional trauma centre servicing 2.2 million people during a 2-year period. Two trained abstractors, blind to each other's results, collected data independently.
Of 249 cases, 79 (31%) underwent a CT scan before being transferred. There was no significant difference in the Injury Severity Score between the 2 groups (
p= 0.16), yet the CT group remained at the primary hospital approximately 90 minutes longer before transfer ( p< 0.001). Conclusion:
A significant proportion of trauma patients transferred to a regional trauma centre undergo CT scanning at the primary hospital. These patients experience an increased length-of-stay of 90 minutes, on average, before transfer. This appears to be a common practice that does not appear to contribute to definitive trauma management.