Introduction Trauma remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity, particularly among young adults. A major trauma (whole-body) CT protocol based upon mechanism of injury was investigated in a busy emergency department.
Methods Trauma patients presenting in two 3-month periods before and after the introduction of a major trauma CT protocol were identified. The mechanism of injury, Injury Severity Score, radiological imaging performed and injuries detected were recorded.
Results More eligible patients received major trauma CT scanning post-protocol than pre-protocol (87/114 (76%) vs 44/94 (47%)). There were no adverse effects attributable to major trauma CT. Seventeen injuries were detected post-protocol that would not have been detected had imaging been conducted based on clinical suspicion rather than mechanism of injury. In three cases an immediate intervention was required.
Conclusion Our major trauma CT protocol, based on mechanism of injury, resulted in substantial changes in clinical management in a small number of patients without any increase in adverse events. However, it is not a substitute for clinical acumen in the initial assessment of trauma patients.
- trauma, major trauma management
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.