A Leg to Stand on: Trauma Center Designation and Association with Rate of Limb Salvage in Patients Suffering Severe Lower Extremity Injury

Corinne Bunn, Sujay Kulshrestha, Bianca Di Chiaro, Uma Maduekwe, Zaid M. Abdelsattar, Marshall S. Baker, Fred A. Luchette, Sonya Agnew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Mangled extremities are one of the most difficult injuries for trauma surgeons to manage. We compare limb salvage rates for a limb-threatening lower extremity injuries managed at Level I vs Level II trauma centers (TCs). Study Design: We identified all adult patients with a limb-threatening injury who underwent primary amputation or limb salvage (LS) using the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Trauma Quality Improvement Program database at ACS Level I vs II TCs between 2007 and 2017. A limb-threatening injury was defined as an open tibial fracture with concurrent arterial injury (Gustilo type IIIc). Multivariable analysis and propensity score matching were performed to minimize confounding by indication. Results: There were 712 records for analysis; 391 (54.9%) LS performed and 321 (45.1%) underwent amputation. The rate of LS was statistically higher among patients treated at Level I TCs vs those treated at Level II TCs (47.4% vs 34.8%; p = 0.01). Patients with penetrating injuries (13% vs 9.5%; p = 0.046) and tibial/peroneal artery injury (72.9% vs 50.4%; p < 0.001), as opposed to popliteal artery injury (30.8% vs 58.8%; p < 0.001), were more likely to have LS. The risk-adjusted odds of LS was 3.13 times higher at Level I TCs vs Level II TCs (95% CI, 1.59 to 6.34; p = 0.001). Limb salvage rates were significantly higher at Level I TCs compared with Level II TCs (53.0% vs 34.8%; p = 0.004), even after propensity matching. Conclusions: In patients with a mangled extremity, limb salvage rates are 50% higher at Level I TCs compared with Level II TCs, independent of case mix and injury severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-129.e5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Volume233
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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