Objective: The aims of this study were to describe the demographics, injuries, mechanisms and severity of injury, prehospital and hospital care during the first 24h, and patient outcome, in the most severely injured children cared for following trauma at a paediatric intensive care unit in Sweden.
Methods: The medical records of 131 traumatised children (0-16 years of age), admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit in Gothenburg from January 1990 to October 2000, were retrospectively examined. Nine internationally recognised scoring systems were used to calculate severity of injury, in order to predict the chances of patient survival.
Results: Paediatric trauma was more common in boys (68%). The mean age at injury was 7.9 years (S.D. 4.7 years). Traffic-related accidents (40%) and falls (34%) were the leading causes of injury. Injuries to the head were the most frequent, forming 24% of all injuries. Severity of injury was recorded as an Injury Severity Score median of 14, Trauma Score Injury Severity Score median of 99% and Paediatric Risk of Mortality Score median of 0.69%. The mortality rate was 3%.
Conclusion: Trauma with admission to a paediatric intensive care unit is rare in a Swedish paediatric population. When cared for at a centre with the necessary facilities and trained personnel, these children have a good chance of survival.