Background: The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACSCOT) has developed and updated field trauma triage protocols for decades, yet the ability to identify major trauma patients remains unclear. We estimate the diagnostic value of the Field Triage Decision Scheme for identifying major trauma patients (Injury Severity Score [ISS] ≥ 16) in a large and diverse multisite cohort. Study Design: This was a retrospective cohort study of injured children and adults transported by 94 emergency medical services (EMS) agencies to 122 hospitals in 7 regions of the Western US from 2006 through 2008. Patients who met any of the field trauma triage criteria (per EMS personnel) were considered triage positive. Hospital outcomes measures were probabilistically linked to EMS records through trauma registries, state discharge data, and emergency department data. The primary outcome defining a "major trauma patient" was ISS ≥ 16. Results: There were 122,345 injured patients evaluated and transported by EMS over the 3-year period, 34.5% of whom met at least 1 triage criterion and 5.8% had ISS ≥ 16. The overall sensitivity and specificity of the criteria for identifying major trauma patients were 85.8% (95% CI 85.0% to 86.6%) and 68.7% (95% CI 68.4% to 68.9%), respectively. Triage sensitivity and specificity, respectively, differed by age: 84.1% and 66.4% (0 to 17 years); 89.5% and 64.3% (18 to 54 years); and 79.9% and 75.4% (≥55 years). Evaluating the diagnostic value of triage by hospital destination (transport to Level I/II trauma centers) did not substantially improve these findings. Conclusions: The sensitivity of the Field Triage Decision Scheme for identifying major trauma patients is lower and specificity higher than previously described, particularly among elders.
- Abbreviated Injury Score
- American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma
- Injury Severity Score
- emergency medical services
ASJC Scopus subject areas