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Application of variable life adjusted display (VLAD) in early detection of deficiency in trauma care
  1. H B Tan,
  2. S F Cross,
  3. S W Goodacre
  1. Emergency Department, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S W Goodacre
 Senior Lecturer and Consultant, Department of Accident and Emergency, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield, S5 7AU, UK;


Early detection of deficient care is an increasingly important element of trauma audit. We aimed to assess the feasibility and demonstrate the use of a variable life adjusted display (VLAD) in trauma audit. Data from the Trauma Audit and Research Network database of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust were used to create a VLAD. A cumulative display of survival was plotted in which survivors were incorporated as a positive value equal to 1 minus the probability of survival, and deaths were incorporated as a negative value equal to the probability of survival. Downward deflections of the display thus indicated potentially deficient trauma care. Data from 191 consecutive patients over 1 year were plotted and displayed. The first 2 months of this period were characterised by a downward trend in the line, which may indicate suboptimum performance and provides an example of a trend that would prompt detailed review. The VLAD chart is a potentially useful “early warning” system for poor performance in trauma care. Further work should to be carried out to evaluate VLAD prospectively as an audit tool, perhaps involving comparison of VLAD charts from different institutions.

  • ED, emergency department
  • ISS, Injury Severity Score
  • NATD, National Trauma Data Bank
  • RTS, Revised Trauma Score
  • TARN, Trauma Audit and Research Network
  • TRISS, Trauma and Injury Severity Score
  • VLAD, variable life adjusted display
  • statistical method
  • trauma audit
  • variable life adjusted display

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  • Competing interests: none declared