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Decrease in mortality after severe injuries in accidents

Fewer and fewer people are dying after being severely injured in an accident. As Professor Steffen Ruchholtz and his colleagues from Marburg University Hospital report in the current issue of Deutsches rzteblatt, the number of deaths in Germany sank continuously between 1999 and 2005, decreasing by 4.1% to 18.7%.The authors based their analysis in Deutsches rzteblatt on the trauma registry of the German Society of Trauma Surgery a database of 11,013 patients from 105 hospitals (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105(13): 22531).

According to the authors, the primary diagnosis has become quicker, as has the initiation of important therapeutic measures. Thus, the time for x-ray diagnosis decreased from 25 to 15 minutes. In 2005, operations to stop bleeding started after 39 minutes in comparison to 45 minutes three years earlier.

Nevertheless, Ruchholtz et al. found that there were major regional differences in the care of severely injured patients. Thus, the mortality for all traffic accidents was 2.7% in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in comparison to 1.1% in North Rhine-Westphalia. In future, regional trauma networks will ensure that every severely injured patient can be transported from the site of the accident to a suitable hospital within 30 minutes.

Every year, there are about 7 to 8 million accidents in Germany, with about 580,000 injuries. Most injuries are mild and the patients can be treated as out-patients or be admitted for a short period. However, 33,000 to 38,000 people are severely injured. The first few hours after the injury are particularly important for survival.


Contact: Elke Bartholomus
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

Page: 1

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