Comparison of a trauma comorbidity index with other measures of comorbidities to estimate risk of trauma mortality

Peter C. Jenkins, Brian E. Dixon, Stephanie A. Savage, Aaron E. Carroll, Craig D. Newgard, Christopher J. Tignanelli, Mark R. Hemmila, Lava Timsina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Comorbidities influence the outcomes of injured patients, yet a lack of consensus exists regarding how to quantify that association. This study details the development and internal validation of a trauma comorbidity index (TCI) designed for use with trauma registry data and compares its performance to other existing measures to estimate the association between comorbidities and mortality.

METHODS: Indiana state trauma registry data (2013-2015) were used to compare the TCI with the Charlson and Elixhauser comorbidity indices, a count of comorbidities, and comorbidities as separate variables. The TCI approach utilized a randomly selected training cohort and was internally validated in a distinct testing cohort. The C-statistic of the adjusted models was tested using each comorbidity measure in the testing cohort to assess model discrimination. C-statistics were compared using a Wald test, and stratified analyses were performed based on predicted risk of mortality. Multiple imputation was used to address missing data.

RESULTS: The study included 84,903 patients (50% each in training and testing cohorts). The Indiana TCI model demonstrated no significant difference between testing and training cohorts (p = 0.33). It produced a C-statistic of 0.924 in the testing cohort, which was significantly greater than that of models using the other indices (p < 0.05). The C-statistics of models using the Indiana TCI and the inclusion of comorbidities as separate variables-the method used by the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program-were comparable (p = 0.11) but use of the TCI approach reduced the number of comorbidity-related variables in the mortality model from 19 to one.

CONCLUSIONS: When examining trauma mortality, the TCI approach using Indiana state trauma registry data demonstrated superior model discrimination and/or parsimony compared to other measures of comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1150-1159
Number of pages10
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number10
Early online dateApr 29 2021
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding information Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award UL1TR002529 and the Indiana State Department of Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Indiana State Department of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine


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