Injuries in Bolivia: Initial trauma registry results from five hospitals in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Document Type



General Surgery


Aim: Trauma is a leading cause of global deaths. Many resource-limited settings, like Bolivia, lack data on injury mechanisms and outcomes, restricting targeted initiatives for prevention and quality improvement. We reviewed initial results from five hospital-based trauma registries in Santa Cruz de la Sierra to explore injury characteristics in this Bolivian region.
Materials and methods: From October 2015 until May 2016 emergency department (ED) staff gathered trauma patient information, including personal and injury demographics, prehospital facts, and hospital disposition, with subsequent transfer into an online platform.
Results: The registry captured N = 3,220 patients, of which 64% were male aged 21 years (IQR 6, 37). Hospital transport occurred via private car (37%), taxi (23%), or ambulance (15%), with many presenting on the day of injury (74%) within four hours (52%). Most injuries occurred at home (38%) or in the street (29%), were blunt (64%), and resulted from falls (43%), road traffic incidents (13%), or dog bites (8%). Common classifiable injuries (N = 2,874) included head/face/extremity contusions (43%), extremity fractures (12%), arm/hand penetrating injuries Conclusion: These data suggest trauma patients at registry hospitals frequently are not hospitalized and many injuries are preventable. A more complete trauma representation within the city requires data quality improvement, program expansion, and supplementary data source inclusion. Results will inform health system resource planning and preventative strategies, enabling evidence-based interventions that reduce injury morbidity and mortality in Bolivia. Clinical significance: These results qualify the injury burden in this Bolivian region, serving as the basis for future interventions to improve injured patient outcomes, and reduce morbidity and mortality.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

Publication (Name of Journal)

Panamerican Journal of Trauma, Critical Care & Emergency Surgery