Injuries cause significant morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan African countries such as Rwanda. These burdens may be compounded by limited access to intravenous (IV) resuscitation fluids such as crystalloids and blood products. This study evaluates the association between emergency department (ED) intravenous volume resuscitation and mortality outcomes in adult trauma patients treated at the University Teaching Hospital-Kigali (UTH- K).
Data were abstracted using a structured protocol for a random sample of ED patients treated during periods from 2012 to 2016. Patients under 15 years of age were excluded. Data collected included demographics, clinical aspects, types of IV fluid resuscitation provided and outcomes. The primary outcome was facility-based mortality. Descriptive statistics were used to explore characteristics of the population. Kampala Trauma Scores (KTS) were used to control for injury severity. Magnitudes of effects were quantified using multivariable regression models adjusted for gender, KTS, time period, clinical interventions, presence of head injury and transfer to a tertiary care centre to yield adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
From the random sample of 3609 cases, 991 trauma patients were analysed. The median age was 32 [IQR 26, 46] years and 74.3% were male. ED volume resuscitation was given to 50.1% of patients with 43.5% receiving crystalloid and 6.4% receiving crystalloid and packed red blood cell (PRBC) transfusions. The median KTS score was 13 [IQR 12, 13]. In multivariable regression, mortality likelihood was increased in those who received crystalloid (aOR = 4.31, 95%CI 1.24, 15.05, p = 0.022) and PRBC plus crystalloid (aOR = 9.97, 95%CI 2.15,46.17, p = 0.003) as compared to trauma patients not treated with IV resuscitation fluids.
Injured ED patients treated with volume resuscitation had higher mortality, which may be due to unmeasured confounding or therapies provided. Further studies on fluid resuscitation in trauma populations in resource-limited settings are needed.