Pryor, John P. MD; Braslow, Benjamin MD; Reilly, Patrick M. MD; Gullamondegi, Oscar MD; Hedrick, Joseph H. BS; Schwab, C William MD
Background: Although the traditional role of radiology in trauma care has been diagnostic, therapeutic interventional radiology (IR) techniques have now become essential in the management of many injuries. We hypothesized that IR has evolved at our institution over the last decade from a largely diagnostic to a more therapeutic role in the care of the injured patient.
Methods: Demographic information, computed tomographic scans of the chest and abdomen, and angiographic procedures (APs) performed within 48 hours of admission were reviewed in all patients evaluated at a Level I trauma center for the periods 1993 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002. All APs performed with the intent to embolize, stent, or insert a device into a vessel were designated as therapeutic. Analysis by means of [chi]2 provided between-group comparisons for questions of interest and the Student’s t test was used for comparison of means.
Results: A total of 4,750 patients were reviewed, 1,677 from the time period 1993 to 1995 and 3,073 from the period 2000 to 2002. Overall injury severity as measured by the Injury Severity Score (ISS) was similar in both groups (9.6 vs. 9.9, p = not significant). The number of angiograms obtained decreased significantly from 7.1% to 4.0% of all patients (p < 0.01). Concurrently, the fraction of all angiograms that were considered therapeutic rose from 10% to 22% (p < 0.05). The overall number of aortic arch angiograms decreased over time (from 3.6% to 0.9%, p < 0.01), and the percentage of positive examinations increased from 5.0% to 21.4%. In comparison, the number of computed tomographic scans of the chest increased from 1.6% of all patients to 10.8% (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: Axial imaging studies are being used more frequently to screen trauma patients for injury. Concurrently, diagnostic APs are less frequently performed but are more frequently positive. In addition, IR studies are increasingly focused on therapeutic intervention. IR program development and support is an integral aspect of modern trauma care. These findings have prompted our institution to equip the IR suite to function as an active resuscitation area similar to the trauma bay and intensive care unit.
Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care. 59(1):102-104, July 2005.