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Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2004 Jan;5(1):5-9.

Severity of injury and mortality associated with pediatric blunt injuries: hospitals with pediatric intensive care units versus other hospitals.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, School of Public Health, University at Albany, Rensselaer, NY 12144-3456, USA.



To a) compare in-hospital mortality rates for pediatric (age <13 yrs) patients with blunt injuries in the New York State Trauma Registry based on hospital type (dedicated pediatric intensive care unit [PICU] and designated trauma centers and noncenters that do not have a dedicated PICU) for the purpose of determining whether there is a reduction in mortality at a specialty hospital and b) determine the extent to which high-risk patients are admitted to specialty hospitals.


Inpatient data for the years 1994-1998 in the New York State Trauma Registry.


A total of 8,180 pediatric inpatients who suffered blunt injury were selected to examine where patients were treated (PICU, regional trauma center without PICU, area trauma center without PICU, or noncenter without PICU) as a function of injury severity.


Data were extracted for inpatients aged <13 yrs who suffered blunt injury.


The injury severity of inpatients treated at PICUs and regional centers without PICUs was significantly higher than at other hospitals. Risk factors that were independently related to survival of pediatric trauma inpatients were age <5 yrs, motor component of one to five, abnormal systolic blood pressure relative to age, and International Classification of Disease, Ninth Revision-Based Injury Severity Score. Of the total 136 deaths, 133 were among the patients <5 yrs old, motor score <6, and age-related abnormal systolic blood pressure. A total of 66.8% of these patients were treated at PICUs, and 9.9% were treated at regional centers without PICUs. No statistically significant differences in risk-adjusted mortality rates were found by hospital type, but rates at PICUs were lower than for other types of hospitals except for noncenters without PICUs, whose patients were considerably less severely injured.


There is significant triaging of the most seriously injured pediatric trauma inpatients to PICUs, and there is evidence that this policy is effective.

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