Purpose: The treatment of paediatric polytrauma patients in the emergency room is not common. The knowledge of specific injuries in consideration of the age-specific characteristics is of particular importance for precise diagnostics and therapy. The goal of this study is the aquisition of the frequency, the localisation and the severity of paediatric polytrauma (age: 0-16 years) in comparison with adults.
Patients and methods: In the period 7 / 01 to 5 / 04 the localisation and injury severity of 23 paediatric polytrauma patients (age: 2-16 years) were compared retrospectivly with those of 324 adults (age: 17-88 years). In the paediatric group (ISS: 31) the lethality was 17 % and so much higher than that in the grown-up population (ISS: 33) with 10 % at comparable injury severity. The cause of accident and the injury severity of the affected body region were analysed. The severity of the diffferent body regions were classified by the Abbreviated Injury Severity Score (AIS). The results were discussed with regard to the current literature.
Results: With 65 %, more than every second child suffered from severe head injuries (AIS > 2), whereas only 37 % of the adults were affected in this way. The different types of intracranial bleedings were analysed and compared. Heavy injuries of the thorax (AIS > 2) were the result of an accident in 61 % of the children and in 54 % of the adults. The incidence of children with injuries to the abdomen was 30 % compared to 31 % in the grown-up collective. Lesions of the spleen and liver had a frequency of 13 to 16 %. Injuries of the spine could be only found in 4 % of the children compared to 40 % of the adult group. The frequencies of pelvic injuries were similar at 22 % for children and 28 % for adults. With 13 % for the upper extremities and 17 % for the lower extremities, children were much less injured in these body regions. In the group of adults 43 % had injuries to the upper extremities and 33 % injuries to the lower extremities.
Conclusions: Taking the results into account with consdieration of the literature data, the authors recommend that the emergency room management for adults and, especially, the radiolgical diagnostic chain with CT scans should also be applied to polytraumatised children. The main reasons for this are the extremely high incidence of intracranial injuries and the high sensitivity of CT scans also for abdominal trauma and pelvic injuries.