Impact of Interfacility Transport Method and Specialty Teams on Outcomes of Pediatric Trauma Patients

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of ground versus air transport and use of pediatric specialty versus generalist transport teams on outcomes of pediatric trauma victims requiring interfacility transport.

Methods

A retrospective review of our hospital's trauma registry database was performed. Children with traumatic injuries who were transported from a referring hospital by either our pediatric specialty transport team or an outside generalist transport team were included in the analysis. Comparisons were made by mode of transport (air vs ground), team type (specialty vs generalist), and by transport mode and team type combined.

Results

Total transport time was significantly shorter for generalist air transport than other modes. Severity of injury as determined by Pediatric Trauma Score (PTS) was equivalent for all patients at the referring hospital, but there was a statistically significant greater decrease (worsening) in PTS from referral to arrival for generalist team air transports versus all other transport modes. Similarly, there was a statistically significant greater decrease (worsening) in Glasgow Coma Score from referral to arrival for generalist team air transport versus all other transport modes. Hospital discharge disposition to home was greater for all ground teams versus air teams and for specialty team air versus generalist team air.

Conclusions

In our system, air transport by a generalist team occurred more rapidly than ground or air transport by a specialty team. However, generalist air transport is associated with significant worsening in patients' PTS and Glasgow Coma Score despite similar severity of injury at referral, and differences in hospital discharge disposition were present.

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