The civilian validation of the Modified Physiological Triage Tool (MPTT): an evidence-based approach to primary major incident triage

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Abstract

Introduction

Triage is a key principle in the effective management of a major incident. Existing triage tools have demonstrated limited performance at predicting need for life-saving intervention (LSI). Derived on a military cohort, the Modified Physiological Triage Tool (MPTT) has demonstrated improved performance. Using a civilian trauma registry, this study aimed to validate the MPTT in a civilian environment.

Methods

Retrospective database review of the Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) database for all adult patients (>18 years) between 2006 and 2014. Patients were defined as Priority One if they received one or more LSIs from a previously defined list. Only patients with complete physiological data were included. Patients were categorised by the MPTT and existing triage tools using first recorded hospital physiology. Performance characteristics were evaluated using sensitivity, specificity and area under receiver operating characteristic (AUROC).

Results

During the study period, 218 985 adult patients were included in the TARN database. 127 233 (58.1%) had complete data: 55.6% male, aged 61.4 (IQR 43.1–80.0) years, Injury Severity Score 9 (IQR 9–16), 96.5% suffered blunt trauma and 24 791 (19.5%) were Priority One. The MPTT (sensitivity 57.6%, specificity 71.5%) outperformed all existing triage methods with a 44.7% absolute reduction in undertriage compared with existing UK civilian methods. AUROC comparison supported the use of the MPTT over other tools (P<0.001.)

Conclusion

Within a civilian trauma registry population, the MPTT demonstrates improved performance at predicting need for LSI, with the lowest rates of undertriage and an appropriate level of overtriage. We suggest the MPTT be considered as an alternative to existing triage tools.

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