Implementation of an evidence-based accelerated pathway: can hospital length of stay for children with blunt solid organ injury be safely decreased?

Pediatr Surg Int. 2021 Jun;37(6):695-704. doi: 10.1007/s00383-021-04896-0. Epub 2021 Mar 29.


Background: Recent work has demonstrated that an accelerated pathway for pediatric patients with blunt solid organ injuries is safe; however, this is not well-studied in a dual trauma center. We hypothesized that implementation of an accelerated pathway would decrease length of stay (LOS) and hospitalization cost without increased mortality.

Methods: Retrospective review of patients < 15 years presenting to a dual level 1 trauma center between 2015 and 2020 with traumatic blunt liver and splenic injuries. Patients presenting pre- and post-protocol implementation were compared. The primary outcome was total hospital LOS. Secondary outcomes were number of lab draws, intensive care unit (ICU) LOS, cost of hospitalization, readmissions within 30 days, and mortality.

Results: 103 patients were evaluated, 67 pre-protocol and 63 post-protocol. LOS was significantly shorter post-protocol (2 days vs. 4 days, p < 0.001). The ICU LOS was unchanged. There was a decrease in direct hospitalization cost per patient from $6,246 pre-protocol to $4,294 post-protocol (p = 0.001). There was one readmission post-protocol and none pre-protocol. There were no deaths.

Conclusion: Implementation of an accelerated pathway for management of blunt solid organ injury at a dual trauma center was associated with decreased LOS and decreased costs with no increased morbidity or mortality.

Keywords: Accelerated protocol; Blunt solid organ injury; Blunt trauma; Resource utilization.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries / epidemiology
  • Abdominal Injuries / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / trends*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy*