Do prehospital trauma center triage criteria identify major trauma victims?

Arch Surg. 1995 Feb;130(2):171-6. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430020061010.


Objective: To evaluate anatomic, physiologic, and mechanism-of-injury prehospital triage criteria as well as the subjective criterion of provider "gut feeling."

Design: Prospective analysis.

Setting: A state without a trauma system or official trauma center designation.

Patients: Patients treated by emergency medical services personnel statewide over a 1-year period who were injured and met at least one prehospital triage criterion for treatment at a trauma center.

Main outcome measures: Outcome was analyzed for injury severity using the Injury Severity Score and mortality rates. A major trauma victim (MTV) was defined as a patient having an Injury Severity Score of 16 or greater. The yield of MTV and mortality associated with each criterion was determined.

Results: Of 5028 patients entered into the study, 3006 exhibited a singular entry criterion. Triage criteria tended to stratify into high-, intermediate-, and low-yield groups for MTV identification. Physiologic criteria were high yield and anatomic criteria were intermediate yield. Provider gut feeling alone was a low-yield criterion but served to enhance the yield of mechanism of injury criteria when the two criteria were applied in the same patient.

Conclusions: A limited set of high-yield prehospital criteria are acceptable indicators of MTV. Isolated low- and intermediate-yield criteria may not be useful for initiating trauma center triage or full activation of hospital trauma teams.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Trauma Centers*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triage*
  • Washington / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / pathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / mortality
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / pathology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / physiopathology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Penetrating / etiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / mortality
  • Wounds, Penetrating / pathology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / physiopathology