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Benefit of a Tiered-Trauma Activation System for Triaging Dead-on-Arrival Patients

  • Author(s): Danner, Omar K
  • Wilson, Kenneth L
  • Heron, Sheryl
  • Ahmed, Yusuf
  • Walker, Travelyan M
  • Houry, Debra
  • Haley, Jr., Leon L
  • Matthews, Leslie Ray
  • et al.
Abstract

Introduction: Although national guidelines have been published for the management of critically injured traumatic cardiopulmonary arrest (TCPA) patients, many hospital systems have not implemented in-hospital triage guidelines. The objective of this study was to determine if hospital resources could be preserved by implementation of an in-hospital tiered triage system for patients in TCPA with prolonged resuscitation who would likely be declared dead on arrival (DOA).

Method: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 4,618 severely injured patients, admitted to our Level I trauma center from December 2000 to December 2008 for evaluation. All of the identified patients had sustained life-threatening penetrating and blunt injuries with pre-hospital TCPA. Patients who received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for 10 minutes were assessed for survival rate, neurologic outcome, and charge-for-activation (COA) for our hospital trauma system.

Results: We evaluated 4,618 charts, which consisted of patients seen by the MSM trauma service from December 2001 through December 2008. We identified 140 patients with severe, life-threatening traumatic injuries,who sustained pre-hospitalTCPArequiring prolongedCPRin the field andwere brought to the emergency department (ED).Group I was comprised of 108 patients sustaining TCPA (53 blunt, 55penetrating), who died after receiving, 45 minutes of ACLS after arrival. Group II, which consisted of 32 patients (25 blunt, 7 penetrating), had resuscitative efforts in the EDlasting.45 minutes, but all ultimately died prior to discharge. Estimated hospital charge-for-activation for Group I was approximately $540,000, based on standard charges of $5000 per full-scale trauma system activation (TSA).

Conclusion: Full-scale trauma system activation for patients sustaining greater than 10 minutes of prehospital TCPA in the field is futile and economically depleting. [West J Emerg Med. 2012;13(3):225–229.]

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