Introduction Quality improvement initiatives have focused primarily on preventing in-hospital complications. Patients developing complications are at a greater risk of mortality; however, factors associated with failure-to-rescue (death after major complication) in trauma patients remain undefined. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors associated with failure-to-rescue in patients undergoing trauma laparotomy. Methods An -8-year, retrospective analysis of patients undergoing trauma laparotomy was performed. Patients who developed major in-hospital complications were included. Major complications were defined as respiratory, infectious, cardiac, renal, or development of compartment syndrome. Regression analysis was performed to identify independent factors associated with failure-to-rescue after we adjusted for demographics, mechanism of injury, abdominal abbreviated injury scale, initial vital signs, damage control laparotomy, and volume of crystalloids and blood products administered. Results A total of 1,029 patients were reviewed, of which 21% (n = 217) patients who developed major complications were included. The mean age was 39 ± 18 years, 82% were male, 61% had blunt trauma, and median abdominal abbreviated injury scale was 25 [16-34, interquartile range]. Respiratory complications (n = 77) followed by infectious complications (n = 75) were the most common complications. The failure-to-rescue rate was 15.7% (n = 34/217). Age, blunt trauma, severe head injury, uninsured status, and blood products administered on the second day were independent predictor for failure-to-rescue. Conclusion When major complications develop, age, uninsured status, severity of head injury, and prolonged resuscitation are associated independently with failure-to-rescue, whereas initial resuscitation, coagulopathy, and acidosis did not predict failure to rescue. Quality-of-care programs focus in patient level should be on improving the patient's insurance status, preventing secondary brain injury, and further development of resuscitation guidelines.
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