Sometimes it feels like we’re not really going forward. Trends swing back and forth, new treatments and techniques get hailed one year, then falls out of favour the next. Are we moving forward at all? An article on hepatic trauma care sheds some light

It often feels like all the big stuff, the game changers, have already been invented. Often it just doesn’t feel like all the small advances we are doing have any real impact. But this article on hepatic trauma care made for happy reading. It compares two case series of hepatic trauma patients: an historical one from 1977-1984, and a recent one from 2001-2008.

Main finding on mortality: The 1977-1984 group had a mortality of almost 30%. The new millennium group had an overall mortality of just 3.4%!

From 29.3% mortality to 3.4% in just a few of decades!

That’s a meaningful number. That makes a real difference. So those numbers made me happy, and felt assuring: we are doing some good after all, and the field of medicine is still moving forward. For that reason, the article below might be my feel-good article of the year!

Of course, retrospective articles like this has a lot of potential pitfalls, and this article was mainly looking at the increasing use of non-surgical treatment for hepatic injuries as the reason for the improved survival. The numbers presented here are probably over-optimistic, but still, I think a look back in time like this also reflects the overall improvement of care.

Link to full, free article:
Changes in the diagnosis and therapeutic management of hepatic trauma. A retrospective study comparing 2 series of cases in different (1977-1984 vs. 2001-2008), Cirugía Española, 2011.

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