Background: The epidemiology of post-injury multiple organ failure (MOF) is reported internationally to have gone through changes over the last 15 years. The purpose of this study is to describe the epidemiology of post-injury MOF in Australia. Methods: A 12-month prospective epidemiological study was performed at the John Hunter Hospital (Level-1 Trauma Centre). Demographics, injury severity (ISS), physiological parameters, MOF status and outcome data were prospectively collected on all trauma patients who met inclusion criteria (ICU admission; ISS > 15; age > 18, head Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) <3 and survival >48 h). MOF was prospectively defined by the Denver MOF score greater than 3 points. Data are presented as % or Mean+/−SEM. Univariate statistical comparison was performed (Student t-test, X2 test), P < 0.05 was considered significant. Results: Twenty-nine patients met inclusion criteria (Age 40+/−4, ISS 29+/−3, Male 62%), five patients developed MOF. The incidence of MOF among trauma patients admitted to ICU was 2% (5/204) and 17% (5/29) in the high-risk cohort. The maximum average MOF score was 6.3 +/−1, with the average duration of MOF 5+/−2 days. Two patients had respiratory and cardiac failure, two patients had failure of respiratory, cardiac and hepatic systems, while one patient had failure of respiratory, hepatic and renal systems. One MOF patient died, all non MOF patients survived. MOF patients had longer ICU stays (20+/−4 versus 7+/−0.8 P= 0.01), tended to be older (60+/−11 versus 35+/−4 p=0.07). None of the previously described independent predictors (ISS, base deficit, lactate, transfusions) were different when the MOF patients were compared with the non-MOF patients. Conclusion: The incidence of MOF in Australia is consistent with the international data. In Australia MOF continues to cause significant late mortality and morbidity in trauma patients. MOF patients have longer ICU stay than high-risk non MOF patients, and use significant resources. Our preliminary data challenges the timeliness of the 10-year-old independent predictors of post-injury MOF. The epidemiology, the clinical presentation and the independent predictors of post-injury MOF require larger scale reassessment for the Australian context.
ANZ Journal of Surgery Vol. 79, Issue 6, p. 431-436