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Thefeasibility, appropriateness, and applicability of trauma scoring systems in low and middle-income countries: a systematic review.



About 5.8 million people die each year as a result of injuries, and nearly 90% of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). Trauma scoring is a cornerstone of trauma quality improvement (QI) efforts, and is key to organizing and evaluating trauma services. The objective of this review was to assess the appropriateness, feasibility, and QI applicability of traditional trauma scoring systems in LMIC settings.

Materials and methods

This systematic review searched PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, and trauma-focused journals for articles describing the use of a standardized trauma scoring system to characterize holistic health status. Studies conducted in high-income countries (HIC) or describing scores for isolated anatomic locations were excluded. Data reporting a score's capacity to discriminate mortality, feasibility of implementation, or use for QI were extracted and synthesized.


Of the 896 articles screened, 336 were included. Over half of studies (56%) reported Glasgow Coma Scale, followed by Injury Severity Score (ISS; 51%), Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS; 24%), Revised Trauma Score (RTS; 19%), Trauma and Injury Severity Score (TRISS; 14%), and Kampala Trauma Score (7%). While ISS was overwhelmingly predictive of mortality, 12 articles reported limited feasibility of ISS and/or AIS. RTS consistently underestimated injury severity. Over a third of articles (37%) reporting TRISS assessmentsobserved mortality that was greater than that predicted by TRISS. Several articles cited limited human resources as the key challenge to feasibility.


The findings of this review reveal that implementing systems designed for HICs may not be relevant to the burden and resources available in LMICs. Adaptations or alternative scoring systems may be more effective.

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