Effect of a checklist on advanced trauma life support task performance during pediatric trauma resuscitation

Acad Emerg Med. 2014 Oct;21(10):1129-34. doi: 10.1111/acem.12487.


Objectives: Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) has been shown to improve outcomes related to trauma resuscitation; however, omissions from this protocol persist. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of a trauma resuscitation checklist on performance of ATLS tasks.

Methods: Video recordings of resuscitations of children sustaining blunt or penetrating injuries at a Level I pediatric trauma center were reviewed for completion and timeliness of ATLS primary and secondary survey tasks, with and without checklist use. Patient and resuscitation characteristics were obtained from the trauma registry. Data were collected during two 4-month periods before (n = 222) and after (n = 213) checklist implementation. The checklist contained 50 items and included four sections: prearrival, primary survey, secondary survey, and departure plan.

Results: Five primary survey ATLS tasks (cervical spine immobilization, oxygen administration, palpating pulses, assessing neurologic status, and exposing the patient) and nine secondary survey ATLS tasks were performed more frequently (p ≤ 0.01 for all) and vital sign measurements were obtained faster (p ≤ 0.01 for all) after the checklist was implemented. When controlling for patient and event-specific characteristics, primary and secondary survey tasks overall were more likely to be completed (odds ratio [OR] = 2.66, primary survey; OR = 2.47, secondary survey; p < 0.001 for both) and primary survey tasks were performed faster (p < 0.001) after the checklist was implemented.

Conclusions: Implementation of a trauma checklist was associated with greater ATLS task performance and with increased frequency and speed of primary and secondary survey task completion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Advanced Trauma Life Support Care*
  • Checklist*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Trauma Centers / organization & administration
  • Video Recording
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*