The results for emergency surgeries for thoracic trauma in Iceland has been found to be better than in many other countries due to the short distances to the hospital in Reykjavík, good access to blood supplies and a well-coordinated team of doctors and nurses, according to an article, ‘Emergency thoracotomy as a rescue treatment for trauma patients in Iceland,’ in the emergency medicine journal Injury.
The findings are based on former medical student Berglind Jóhannesdóttir’s MS thesis. Berglind currently works as a ward doctor at Landspítali national university hospital.
According to the University of Iceland’s Science Web, thoracic injury, which can occur after, for example, serious car accidents, stabbing, or shooting, often ends in death but emergency surgery, controversial abroad due to less than satisfactory results, can in some cases save the lives of patients.
The article focuses on a six year period, 2005-2010, when nine such surgeries were undergone. All nine patients arrived at the hospital in a critical condition, mostly following a car accident or fall. Five of the nine patients survived the surgery, an unusually high percentage compared to 0 to 18 percent in the other Nordic countries.
The authors, Bergrós K. Jóhannesdóttir, Brynjólfur Mogensen and Tómas Guðbjartsson, attribute the success rate in part to good coordination across specialties at Landspítali when dealing with seriously injured patients but point out that little information on the outcome of ET in European trauma centers exists.
Two more such surgeries have been undergone since the research was completed and in both cases the patients survived.