Preventable death in trauma: A systematic review on definition and classification

N. A. G. Hakkenbrak*, S. Y. Mikdad, W. P. Zuidema, J. A. Halm, L. J. Schoonmade, U. J. L. Reijnders, F. W. Bloemers, G. F. Giannakopoulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: Trauma-related preventable death (TRPD) has been used to assess the management and quality of trauma care worldwide. However, due to differences in terminology and application, the definition of TRPD lacks validity. The aim of this systematic review is to present an overview of current literature and establish a designated definition of TRPD to improve the assessment of quality of trauma care. Methods: A search was conducted in PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library and the Web of Science Core Collection. Including studies regarding TRPD, published between January 1, 1990, and April 6, 2021. Studies were assessed on the use of a definition of TRPD, injury severity scoring tool and panel review. Results: In total, 3,614 articles were identified, 68 were selected for analysis. The definition of TRPD was divided in four categories: I. Clinical definition based on panel review or expert opinion (TRPD, trauma-related potentially preventable death, trauma-related non-preventable death), II. An algorithm (injury severity score (ISS), trauma and injury severity score (TRISS), probability of survival (Ps)), III. Clinical definition completed with an algorithm, IV. Other. Almost 85% of the articles used a clinical definition in some extend; solely clinical up to an additional algorithm. A total of 27 studies used injury severity scoring tools of which the ISS and TRISS were the most frequently reported algorithms. Over 77% of the panels included trauma surgeons, 90% included other specialist; 61% emergency medicine physicians, 46% forensic pathologists and 43% nurses. Conclusion: The definition of TRPD is not unambiguous in literature and should be based on a clinical definition completed with a trauma prediction algorithm such as the TRISS. TRPD panels should include a trauma surgeon, anesthesiologist, emergency physician, neurologist, and forensic pathologist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2768-2777
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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