Journal Article
Observational Study
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Health-Related Quality of Life in severely injured patients in Finland: an observational cohort study of 325 patients with 1-year follow-up.

BACKGROUND: Major trauma has a significant effect on Health-Related Quality of Life (HR-QoL). It is unclear, however, which factors most affect HR-QoL. This study aims to evaluate HR-QoL after severe injury in Finland and determine how different injury patterns and patient-related factors, such as level of education and socioeconomic group, are associated with HR-QoL. We also assess how well different injury scoring systems associate with HR-QoL.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed 325 severely injured trauma patients (aged ≥ 18 years, New Injury Severity Score, (NISS) ≥ 16, and alive at 1 year after injury) treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or High Dependence Unit (HDU) of Tampere University Hospital (TAUH) from 2013 through 2016. HR-QoL was assessed with the EQ-5D-3L questionnaire completed during ICU stay and 1 year after injury. HR-QOL index values and reported problems were further compared with Finnish population norms.

RESULTS: The severity of the injury (measured by ISS and NISS) had no significant association with the decrease in HR-QoL. Length of ICU stay had a weak negative correlation with post-injury HR-QoL and a weak positive correlation with the change in HR-QoL. The largest mean decrease in HR-QoL occurred in patients with spinal cord injury (Spine AIS ≥ 4) (-0.338 (SD 0.136)), spine injury in general (Spine AIS ≥ 2 (-0.201 (SD 0.279)), and a lower level of education (-0.157 (SD 0.231)). Patient's age, sex, or socioeconomic status did not seem to associate with smaller or greater changes in HR-QoL.

CONCLUSIONS: After serious injury, many patients have permanent disabilities which reduce HR-QoL. Injury scoring systems intended for assessing the risk for death did not seem to associate with HR-QoL and are not, therefore, a meaningful way to predict the future HR-QoL of a severely injured patient. Recovery from the injury seems to be weaker in poorer educated patients and patients with spinal cord injury, and these patients may benefit from targeted additional measures. Although there were significant differences in baseline HR-QoL levels between different socioeconomic groups, recovery from injury appears to be similar, which is likely due to equal access to high-quality trauma care.

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