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Field Triage of Motor Vehicle Crashes: Which Factors Predict High Injury Severity?

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Patient physiology and crash characteristics are essential components of field triage for motor vehicle crashes. We aimed to identify prehospital information that predicted high injury severity or critical patient condition on hospital arrival. The association of demographics, shock index (SI), Glasgow Coma Scale, and 10 crash characteristics of trauma activations for motor vehicle crashes with injury severity score (ISS) ≥ 16 and a composite of hypotension, need for blood transfusions, or immediate operation was determined using univariate and multivariate analyses. A total of 133 of 498 patients (27%) had ISS ≥ 16; SI ≥ 0.9, Glasgow Coma Scale ≤ 8, speed ≥ 55 mph, seatbelt use, airbag deployment, ambulatory patient, severe vehicle damage, ejection, and extrication were associated with ISS ≥ 16. Only abnormal SI and high speed remained independent predictors for ISS ≥ 16 with Odds Ratio (OR) = 10.76 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.14‐101, P = 0.04) and OR = 10.37 (95% CI, 1.48‐72.93, P = 0.02), respectively. SI ≥ 0.9 predicted the composite outcome with OR = 5.92 (95% CI, 2.32‐15.08, P < 0.01). Many commonly reported crash characteristics did not predict clinically important outcomes. Improvements in road and vehicle safety may be resulting in lower injury severity despite major crash mechanisms.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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