Hemodynamic Deterioration of Trauma Patients Undergoing Interhospital Transfer

Lia Michos*, Gregory L. Whitehorn, Mark Seamon, Jeremy W. Cannon, Jay Yelon, Patrick Kim, Justin S. Hatchimonji, Jamie Song, Elinore J. Kaufman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Organized trauma systems reduce morbidity and mortality after serious injury. Rapid transport to high-level trauma centers is ideal, but not always feasible. Thus, interhospital transfers are an important component of trauma systems. However, transferring a seriously injured patient carries the risk of worsening condition before reaching definitive care. In this study, we evaluated characteristics and outcomes of patients whose hemodynamic status worsened during the transfer process. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using data from the Pennsylvania Trauma Outcomes Study database from 2011 to 2018. Patients were included if they had a heart rate ≤ 100 and systolic blood pressure ≥ 100 at presentation to the referring hospital and were transferred within 24 h. We defined hemodynamic deterioration (HDD) as admitting heart rate > 100 or systolic blood pressure < 100 at the receiving center. We compared demographics, mechanism of injury, injury severity, management, and outcomes between patients with and without HDD using descriptive statistics and multivariable regression analysis. Results: Of 52,919 included patients, 5331 (10.1%) had HDD. HDD patients were more often moderately-severely injured (injury severity score 9-15; 40.4% versus 39.4%, P < 0.001) and injured via motor vehicle collision (23.2% versus 16.6%, P < 0.001) or gunshot wound (2.1% versus 1.3%, P < 0.001). HDD patients more often had extremity or torso injuries and after transfer were more likely to be transferred to the intensive care unit (35% versus 28.5%, P < 0.001), go directly to surgery (8.4% versus 5.9%, P < 0.001), or interventional radiology (0.8% versus 0.3%, P < 0.001). Overall mortality in the HDD group was 4.9% versus 2.1% in the group who remained stable. These results were confirmed using multivariable analysis. Conclusions: Interhospital transfers are essential in trauma, but one in 10 transferred patients deteriorated hemodynamically in that process. This high-risk component of the trauma system requires close attention to the important aspects of transfer such as patient selection, pretransfer management/stabilization, and communication between facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Hemodynamic deterioration
  • Interhospital transfer


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