Objective To evaluate usage of diagnostic angiography (DA) and renal angioembolization (RAE) for isolated renal injuries while assessing differences in utilization based on trauma-level designation. Methods Isolated renal injuries from 2000 to 2013 were identified in the prospectively maintained Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study database and stratified by the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma kidney injury grade. Therapeutic intervention and International Classification of Diseases-9 codes identified DA and/or RAE performance, whereas renal injury was designated through Abbreviated Injury Scale codes. Univariate and multivariate models identified factors associated with utilization of DA or RAE. Results Of 449,422 patients entered into the Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study from 2000 to 2013, 1628 (0.4%) isolated kidney injuries were identified. The majority of patients (1190/1628, 73.1%) experienced low-grade (American Association for the Surgery of Trauma I-III) renal trauma. Although isolated grade IV (41/350, 11.7%) or grade V (10/88, 11.4%) renal trauma patients underwent DA or RAE at a greater rate (P < .001), low-grade patients still underwent DA or RAE 4.3% (51/1190) of the time. Patients with grade I injuries were significantly more likely to undergo DA or RAE at level 1 trauma centers (odds ratio 5.4, 95% confidence interval 1.2-23.8, P = .03). Conclusion Despite overwhelming evidence supporting conservative management for patients with isolated, low-grade traumatic renal injuries, contemporary utilization of DA and RAE in such patients treated at trauma centers is surprisingly high. Factors accounting for a significant increase in utilization at Level 1 trauma centers need to be further elucidated.
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