Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global epidemic with an increasing incidence in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The time from arrival at the hospital to receiving appropriate treatment (“third delay”) can vary widely in LMICs, although its association with mortality in TBI remains unknown.
A retrospective cohort analysis with multivariable logistic regression was conducted using the Toward Improved Trauma Care Outcomes in India database, which contains data from 4 urban trauma centers in India from 2013–2015.
There were 6278 TBIs included in the cohort. The patients’ median age was 39 years (interquartile range 27–52 years) and 80% of patients were male. The most frequent mechanisms of injury were road traffic accidents (52%) and falls (34%). A majority of cases were transfers from other facilities (79%). In-hospital 30-day mortality was 27%; of patients who died, 21% died within 24 hours of arrival. The median third delay was 10 minutes (interquartile range 0–60 minutes); 34% of cases had moderate third delay (10–60 minutes) and 22% had extended third delay (≥ 61 minutes). Overall 30-day mortality was associated with moderate third delay (OR 1.3, p = 0.001) and extended third delay (OR 1.3, p = 0.001) after adjustment by pertinent covariates. This effect was pronounced for 24-hour mortality: moderate and extended third delays were independently associated with ORs of 3.4 and 3.8, respectively, for 24-hour mortality (both p < 0.001).
Third delay is associated with early mortality in patients with TBI, and represents a target for process improvement in urban trauma centers.