Purpose: Prehospital triage criteria (PTC) have been used to classify patients according to risk of serious injury. This study was conducted determine whether PTC could be used to identify serious injury, the need for intensive care (ICU), or immediate operative intervention (IOI).
Methods: Data for this observational study were gathered prospectively, at a level-I trauma center, from a patient cohort admitted to the trauma service from 01 February to 31 July 1995. Specific triage criteria, based on information given by EMS prior to arrival were used to categorize patients by severity. Patients classified as most serious (codes) had the following: shock, major anatomic injury or proximal penetrating trauma. Patients classified as more serious (alerts) had one of the following: abnormal vital signs, Glasgow Coma Scale <13, moderate anatomic injury, high-risk mechanism of injury, or co-morbid factors. Patients not meeting either set of criteria, but were admitted, served as controls (consults). Injury severity scores (ISS) and probability of survival (Probsurvival) were calculated for each patient. The percentage admitted to the ICU, operating room (OR), or requiring IOI, were tabulated. Statistical analysis was performed using ANOVA, Mest and chi-square.