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Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci. 2012 Sep;2(3):121-7. doi: 10.4103/2229-5151.100888.

Initial assessment and management of pediatric trauma patients.

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1
Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.

Abstract

Injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children. Each year, almost one in six children in the United States require emergency department (ED) care for the treatment of injuries, and more than 10,000 children die from injuries. Severely injured children need to be transported to a facility that is staffed 24/7 by personnel experienced in the management of children, and that has all the appropriate equipment to diagnose and manage injuries in children. Anatomical, physiological, and emotional differences between adults and children mean that children are not just scaled-down adults. Facilities receiving injured children need to be child and family friendly, in order to minimize the psychological impact of injury on the child and their family/carers. Early recognition and treatment of life-threatening airway obstruction, inadequate breathing, and intra-abdominal and intra-cranial hemorrhage significantly increases survival rate after major trauma. The initial assessment and management of the injured child follows the same ATLS(®) sequence as adults: primary survey and resuscitation, followed by secondary survey. A well-organized trauma team has a leader who designates roles to team members and facilitates clear, unambiguous communication between team members. The team leader stands where he/she can observe the entire team and monitor the "bigger picture." Working together as a cohesive team, the members perform the primary survey in just a few minutes. Life-threatening conditions are dealt with as soon as they are identified. Necessary imaging studies are obtained early. Constant reassessment ensures that any deterioration in the child's condition is picked up immediately. The secondary survey identifies other injuries, such as intra-abdominal injuries and long-bone fractures, which can result in significant hemorrhage. The relief of pain is an important part of the treatment of an injured child.

KEYWORDS:

Initial assessment; injury; pain; pediatric; primary survey; trauma

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