Up to 2 million lives could be saved annually on a global level through improvements in trauma care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, according to a study published in World Journal of Surgery.
The estimate, provided by researchers from the University of Washington, provides support for investment in and greater attention to strengthening trauma care services globally, according to a Springer news release.
According to the study authors, prior data has shown the average income of an area has an impact on the fatality rates for seriously injured patients in said area. For example, Seattle was reported as being high-income with a case fatality rate of 35% while middle-income Monterrey, Mexico and low-income Kumasi, Ghana demonstrated rates of 55% and 63%, respectively.
The researchers collected numbers representing injury deaths in all countries across different economic strata from the Global Burden of Disease study.
“The number of lives that could potentially be saved from improvements in trauma care globally was calculated as the difference in number of current deaths from trauma in low-income and middle-income countries minus the number of deaths that would have occurred if case fatality rates in these locations were decreased to the case fatality rate in high-income countries,” the authors wrote in the abstract.
According to the study results, between 1.73 million and 1.965 million lives could be saved in low- and middle-income countries, were the fatality rates for seriously injured patients within those countries reduced to the rates reported in high-income countries. The authors noted this amounts to around 34% to 38% of all injury deaths.
“Implementing improvements in trauma care capabilities more widely could save a significant number of lives,” the authors wrote. “Although the figure of nearly 2 million lives saved remains a long-range vision requiring global investment, even small improvements in trauma care capabilities could have significant effects. What’s more, such improvements are eminently affordable and cost-effective.”
- Mock C, Joshipura M, Arreola-Risa C, Quansah R. An estimate of the number of lives that could be saved through improvements in trauma care globally. World J Surg. 2012. doi: 10.1007/s00268-012-1459-6