An audit of head trauma care and mortality

Arshad A. Siddiqui, Hasnain Zafar, Saad H. Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To analyze the factors contributing to deaths from head trauma by using standardized assessment parameters and to provide a peer-review of head injury deaths with focus on identifying deficiencies and analyzing contributory factors. Design: Descriptive study. Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out at the Emergency, Aga Khan University Hospital during January 1998 to December 1999. Subjects and Method: One hundred and three patients above the age of 15 years presenting alive to the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) emergency with head injury were included in this study. Identified deaths data was reviewed by the Hospital Trauma Peer Review Committee and consensus arrived at for categorization of deaths. The potential deficiencies in care were identified and final recommendations made. The data was computed on CDC Trauma Registry (V 3.0) and SPSS (V 8.0). Results: Mean age was 31.9 years (n=103) with predominant male population (4:1). Severe head injury (GCS≤8) accounted for 21.3 % (n=22) of all cases with a total number of deaths being 12.6 % (n=13). Deaths were categorized preventable in 3 cases with non-preventable and potentially preventable in 4 and 6 cases respectively. Road traffic accidents were the predominant mechanism (n=8) in all deaths (n=13). The time interval in relation to mortality was biphasic, most deaths occuring either within 24 hours or between 3-7 days of injury. Inappropriate pre-hospital treatment, pre-hospital delays and inappropriate mode of transportation without inter-hospital communication were the process-related defects in pre-hospital care with major determinant of deaths outside AKUH (n=5). Prolonged emergency stay, delayed intensive care availability were the process-related deficiencies whereas inappropriate initial resuscitation, inappropriate initial head injury management were provider-related deficiencies in in-hospital care. Conclusion: Transfer of inappropriately managed patients, lapses in inter-hospital communications, delayed transfers were identified as the major pre-hospital factors whereas lack of ICU beds, portable ventilators in emergency room, delays in CT scan facilities were the deficiencies in the hospital services. Opportunitie for improvement in head trauma care are needed to focus on initial resuscitation and appropriate surgical management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-177
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • Care
  • Head trauma
  • Mortality
  • Peer review


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