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Standardized outcome evaluation after blunt multiple injuries by scoring systems: a clinical follow-up investigation 2 years after injury.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to evaluate the state of rehabilitation in patients with blunt multiple injuries 2 years after their initial injuries, using several standardized scales and a recently described comprehensive scoring system, by means of a prospective clinical multicenter study.

METHODS: Two years after the initial injury, patients with blunt multiple injuries (Injury Severity Score > or = 16) underwent a clinical follow-up in 5 German Level I trauma centers. The reassessment included a complete head-to-toe examination of the musculoskeletal system and a neurologic examination. The following patient-assessed health status scores were used to determine the quality of life: Short-Form 12, Functional Independence Measurement, and Musculoskeletal Function Assessment. Moreover, a comprehensive scoring system developed in our department (Hannover Score for Polytrauma Outcome [HASPOC]) was used that includes provider-report (physician's examination) and self-report (score systems) criteria.

RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-four of 312 patients who had been injured between January 1995 and July 1996 were reexamined between January 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998. Among the remaining 58 patients, 9 had died by the time of follow-up, and 49 patients had not accepted the invitation. The mean age of those patients who underwent reexamination was 36 +/- 13 years, the mean Injury Severity Score was 24 +/- 6, and the mean initial Glasgow Coma Scale score was 11 +/- 4 (Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) head score of 3.3 +/- 1.1; AIS face, 1.4 +/- 0.1; AIS chest, 3.0 +/- 0.8; AIS abdomen, 1.7 +/- 0.6; and AIS extremities, 3.4 +/- 0.8). The general outcome (Short-Form 12) was as follows: grade I, 9%; grade II, 25%; grade III, 29%; grade IV, 25%; grade V, 6%; and grade VI, 6%. The outcome of the injured extremity demonstrated moderate or severe restrictions according to the Musculoskeletal Function Assessment in 41% of injuries of the lower extremity and in 16% of injuries of the upper extremity. Among patients with injuries to the lower extremity, 52% experienced pain or impaired ability to walk related to an injury of the foot or ankle, 31% indicated pain after a knee or thigh injury, and 27% indicated pain after a femoral or hip injury. The most severe deficits in the range of motion occurred in the foot and the ankle region (13.4% deficit of range of motion < 20% of normal range, p < 0.05 to other injuries). The results of the outcome obtained by self-report correlated with the clinical examination when a scoring system was used that was described recently, the HASPOC.

CONCLUSION: In a standardized multicenter reexamination of patients with blunt multiple injuries, the general outcome was usually fair or good. Both the complaints and the objective results of specific extremity areas demonstrated that most limitations were because of injuries below the knee. These results were adequately reflected by a comprehensive scoring system, combining self-report and provider report (HASPOC).

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