Appropriateness of Pediatric Orthopaedic Transfers to a Level 1 Hospital

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To compare a cohort of transferred pediatric orthopaedic patients with orthopaedic patients who primarily presented to a Level 1 pediatric emergency department to identify risk factors for transfer.


Retrospective cohort study.


Level 1 trauma center in New York.


The cohort consisted of patients younger than 18 years who presented to 1 Level 1 pediatric trauma center between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013, with an orthopaedic fracture diagnosis code (ICD-9 805.0-839.9). The control group included the patients who presented to that hospital primarily, and the study group included patients who were transferred to that same hospital from another institution.


Demographic and injury-related data [age, sex, mechanism of injury, location of injury, injury severity score, and insurance status] were collected.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Regression analysis was performed to assess for predictors of transfer to a Level 1 hospital. Subgroup analysis examined whether transfers were appropriate, based on the type of injury.


There were 1064 patients in the nontransfer group and 67 patients in the transfer group. Transferred patients were more likely to have surgery within 24 hours (39.42% vs. 2.63%) and were more likely to have no insurance or Medicaid (50.75% vs. 33.24%). Injury severity score and insurance status were independent predictors for transfer.


This study indicates that injury severity is the primary predictor in deciding to transfer a pediatric patient; however, insurance status may play a role in that decision.

Level of Evidence:

Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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