Does young age merit increased emergency department trauma team response?

James F Holmes Jr, Ryan Caltagirone, Maureen Murphy, Lisa Abramson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: To determine if increased trauma team response results in alterations in resource use in a population of children <6 years, especially in those least injured. Methods: We conducted a retrospective before and after study of children <6 years sustaining blunt trauma and meeting defined prehospital criteria. We compared hospitalization rates and missed injuries (injuries identified after discharge from the emergency department/hospital) among patients with and without an upgraded trauma team response. We compared the computed tomography (CT) rate and laboratory testing rate among minimally injured patients (Injury Severity Score [ISS] 6). Results: We enrolled 352 patients with 180 (mean age 2.7 ± 1.5 years) in the upgrade cohort and 172 (mean age 2.6 ± 1.5 years) in the no-upgrade cohort. Independent predictors of hospital admission in a regression analysis included: Glasgow Coma Scale <14 (odds ratio [OR]=11.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.3, 56), ISS (OR=1.55, 95% CI 1.33, 1.81), and evaluation by the upgrade trauma team (OR=5.66, 95% CI 3.14, 10.2). In the 275 patients with ISS <6, CT (relative risk=1.34, 95% CI 1.09, 1.64) and laboratory tests (relative risk=1.71, 95% CI 1.39, 2.11) were more likely to be obtained in the upgrade cohort as compared to the no-upgrade cohort. We identified no cases of a missed diagnosis. Conclusion: Increasing the trauma team response based upon young age results in increased resource use without altering the rate of missed injuries. In hospitals with emergency department physicians capable of evaluating and treating injured children, increasing ED trauma team resources solely for young age of the patient is not recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-575
Number of pages7
JournalWestern Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Pediatric trauma
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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