ABSTRACT: : An acceptable algorithm for clearance of the cervical spine (C-spine) in the obtunded trauma patient remains controversial. Undetected C-spine injuries of an unstable nature can have devastating consequences. This has led to reluctance toward C-spine clearance in these patients.
: To objectify the accuracy of computed tomography (CT) scanning compared with dynamic radiographs within a well established C-spine clearance protocol in obtunded trauma patients at a level I trauma center.
: This was a prospective study of consecutive blunt trauma patients (18 years or older) admitted to a single institution between December 2004 and April 2008. To be eligible for study inclusion, patients must have undergone both a CT scan and dynamic plain radiographs of their C-spine as a part of their clearance process.
: Among 402 patients, there was one injury missed on CT but detected by dynamic radiographs. This resulted in a percentage of missed injury of 0.25%. Subsequent independent review of the CT scan revealed that in fact pathologic changes were present on the scan indicative of the injury.
: Our results indicate that CT of the C-spine is highly sensitive in detecting the vast majority (99.75%) of clinically significant C-spine injuries. We recommend that CT be used as the sole modality to radiographically clear the C-spine in obtunded trauma patients and do not support the use of flexion-extension radiographs as an ancillary diagnostic method.
The Journal of trauma 03/2010; 68(3):576-82. · 2.48 Impact Factor
Administrative data are widely used to study health systems and make important health policy decisions. Yet little is known about the influence of coder characteristics on administrative data validity in these studies. Our goal was to describe the relationship between several measures of validity in coded hospital discharge data and 1) coders' volume of coding (≥13,000 vs. <13,000 records), 2) coders' employment status (full- vs. part-time), and 3) hospital type.
This descriptive study examined 6 indicators of face validity in ICD-10 coded discharge records from 4 hospitals in Calgary, Canada between April 2002 and March 2007. Specifically, mean number of coded diagnoses, procedures, complications, Z-codes, and codes ending in 8 or 9 were compared by coding volume and employment status, as well as hospital type. The mean number of diagnoses was also compared across coder characteristics for 6 major conditions of varying complexity. Next, kappa statistics were computed to assess agreement between discharge data and linked chart data reabstracted by nursing chart reviewers. Kappas were compared across coder characteristics.
422,618 discharge records were coded by 59 coders during the study period. The mean number of diagnoses per record decreased from 5.2 in 2002/2003 to 3.9 in 2006/2007, while the number of records coded annually increased from 69,613 to 102,842. Coders at the tertiary hospital coded the most diagnoses (5.0 compared with 3.9 and 3.8 at other sites). There was no variation by coder or site characteristics for any other face validity indicator. The mean number of diagnoses increased from 1.5 to 7.9 with increasing complexity of the major diagnosis, but did not vary with coder characteristics. Agreement (kappa) between coded data and chart review did not show any consistent pattern with respect to coder characteristics.
This large study suggests that coder characteristics do not influence the validity of hospital discharge data. Other jurisdictions might benefit from implementing similar employment programs to ours, e.g.: a requirement for a 2-year college training program, a single management structure across sites, and rotation of coders between sites. Limitations include few coder characteristics available for study due to privacy concerns.
BMC Health Services Research. 01/2010;
ABSTRACT: Risk adjustment and mortality prediction in studies of critical care are usually performed using acuity of illness scores, such as Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II), which emphasize physiological derangement. Common risk adjustment systems used in administrative datasets, like the Charlson index, are entirely based on the presence of co-morbid illnesses. The purpose of this study was to compare the discriminative ability of the Charlson index to the APACHE II in predicting hospital mortality in adult multisystem ICU patients.
This was a population-based cohort design. The study sample consisted of adult (>17 years of age) residents of the Calgary Health Region admitted to a multisystem ICU between April 2002 and March 2004. Clinical data were collected prospectively and linked to hospital outcome data. Multiple regression analyses were used to compare the performance of APACHE II and the Charlson index.
The Charlson index was a poor predictor of mortality (C = 0.626). There was minimal difference between a baseline model containing age, sex and acute physiology score (C = 0.74) and models containing either chronic health points (C = 0.76) or Charlson index variations (C = 0.75, 0.76, 0.77). No important improvement in prediction occurred when the Charlson index was added to the full APACHE II model (C = 0.808 to C = 0.813).
The Charlson index does not perform as well as the APACHE II in predicting hospital mortality in ICU patients. However, when acuity of illness scores are unavailable or are not recorded in a standard way, the Charlson index might be considered as an alternative method of risk adjustment and therefore facilitate comparisons between intensive care units.
BMC Health Services Research 07/2009; 9:129. · 1.66 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: An increasing proportion of critically ill patients are elderly (ie, >or= 65 years of age). This poses complex challenges and choices for the management of elderly patients. Outcome following admission to the ICU has been traditionally concerned with mortality. Beyond mortality, outcomes such as functional status and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) have assumed greater importance. This article reviews the literature, published in English from 1990 to December 2003, pertaining to HRQOL and functional status outcomes of elderly patients. Functional status and HRQOL of elderly survivors of ICUs has been underinvestigated. There is no agreement as to the optimal instrument choice, and differences between studies preclude meaningful comparison or pooling of results.
Chest 06/2005; 127(5):1764-74. · 5.25 Impact Factor