Hypothesis: The incidence and severity of postinjury multiple organ failure (MOF) has decreased over the last decade. Design: A prospective 12-year inception cohort study ending December 31, 2003. Setting: Regional academic level I trauma center. Patients: One thousand three hundred forty-four trauma patients at risk for postinjury MOF. Inclusion criteria were aged older than 15 years, admission to the trauma intensive care unit, an Injury Severity Score higher than 15, and survival for more than 48 hours after injury. Isolated head injuries were excluded from this study. Previously identified risk factors for postinjury MOF were age, Injury Severity Score, and receiving a blood transfusion within 12 hours of injury. Main Outcome Measures: Multiple organ failure was defined by a Denver MOF score of 4 or more for longer than 48 hours after injury. Multiple organ failure severity was defined by the maximum daily MOF score and the number of MOF free days within the first 28 postinjury days. Results: Multiple organ failure was diagnosed in 339 (25%) of 1244 patients. The mean age and Injury Severity Scores increased and the use of blood transfusion during resuscitation decreased over the 12-year study period. After adjusting for age, injury severity, and amount of blood transfused during resuscitation, there was a decreased incidence of MOF over the study period. Of the patients who developed MOF, there was a decrease in disease severity and duration as measured by the maximum daily MOF score and the MOF free days. Although the overall mortality rate remained constant, the MOF-specific mortality decreased. Conclusions: The incidence, severity, and attendant mortality of postinjury MOF decreased over the last 12 years despite an increased MOF risk. Improvements in MOF outcomes can be attributed to improvements in trauma and critical care and are associated with decreased use of blood transfusion during resuscitation.
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