The trauma burden in South Africa is significant. The objective of this project was to investigate the incidence of posttrauma pulmonary complications (PPCs) and to identify patient, health risks, and hospital factors, which predispose trauma patients to develop PPCs hospital in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
The design was a retrospective secondary data analysis of patients who presented as a trauma admission via the health systems’ Hybrid Electronic Medical Registry. The final data set included 6382 trauma admissions.
The PPC rate was 9.4% for patients with a surgical intervention versus 1.9% for those without a surgical intervention. Of the total 289 PPCs reported, the most common included pneumonia or atelectasis (46.4%) and prolonged ventilation (36.0%). The risk of developing a PPC was statistically significantly (P < 0.0001) associated with surgical intervention and the number of surgeries.
The trauma burden in South Africa requires complex medical and surgical interventions. The incidence of PPCs is significantly associated with surgical intervention. With the increasing demand to harness data and improve patient care, the Hybrid Electronic Medical Registry proves to be a driver for quality improvement.