The international assessment of capacity for trauma (INTACT): An index for trauma capacity in low-income countries

Document Type



General Surgery


Background: Injury remains a leading cause of death worldwide with a disproportionate impact in the developing world. Capabilities for trauma care remain limited in these settings. We propose the implementation of the International Assessment of Capacity for Trauma (INTACT) index to provide a standardized way of assessing a health care facility's capacity to provide adequate trauma care.
Materials and methods: A retrospective review of the trauma capacity of 10 government hospitals (district, secondary, regional, maternity, and tertiary facilities) in Sierra Leone was performed using data collected during on-site visits in August 2011. The index incorporates 40 key elements, including resuscitation, laparotomy, chest tube insertion, fracture repair, and burn management capabilities. The INTACT index was calculated on a scale of 0-10 and compared with a previously published index of surgical capacity, the personnel, infrastructure, equipment, and supplies (PIPES) index.
Results: Connaught Hospital, the only tertiary referral center, had the highest index (9.0), consistent with it being the best equipped and staffed of the country. The three district hospitals assessed had the lowest scores from 3.5 to 4.3. INTACT and PIPES scores were correlated overall (r = 0.88). The proportionate difference compared with the PIPES survey was 30% for the maternity hospital and 1% for the tertiary center, suggesting that the INTACT index may be specific for trauma. Deficiencies are especially prominent in personnel, imaging, fracture repair, and burn management.
Conclusions: The INTACT index is a simple tool designed to specifically assess trauma capacity from initial resuscitation to definitive care. Shortcomings in trauma capacity remain prominent and the INTACT index could be used to assess trauma care deficiencies in developing countries


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

Publication (Name of Journal)

The Journal of surgical research