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Mortality in adolescent trauma: a comparison of children’s, mixed and adult major trauma centres


Objective We aimed to compare adolescent mortality rates between different types of major trauma centre (MTC or level 1; adult, children’s and mixed).

Methods Data were obtained from TARN (Trauma Audit Research Network) from English sites over a 6-year period (2012–2018), with adolescence defined as 10–24.99 years. Results are presented using descriptive statistics. Patient characteristics were compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test with Dunn’s post-hoc analysis for pairwise comparison and χ2 test for categorical variables.

Results 21 033 cases met inclusion criteria. Trauma-related 30-day crude mortality rates by MTC type were 2.5% (children’s), 4.4% (mixed) and 4.9% (adult). Logistic regression accounting for injury severity, mechanism of injury, physiological parameters and ‘hospital ID’, resulted in adjusted odds of mortality of 2.41 (95% CI 1.31 to 4.43; p=0.005) and 1.85 (95% CI 1.03 to 3.35; p=0.041) in adult and mixed MTCs, respectively when compared with children’s MTCs. In three subgroup analyses the same trend was noted. In adolescents aged 14–17.99 years old, those managed in a children’s MTC had the lowest mortality rate at 2.5%, compared with 4.9% in adult MTCs and 4.4% in mixed MTCs (no statistical difference between children’s and mixed). In cases of major trauma (Injury Severity Score >15) the adjusted odds of mortality were also greater in the mixed and adult MTC groups when compared with the children’s MTC. Median length of stay (LoS) and intensive care unit LoS were comparable for all MTC types. Patients managed in children’s MTCs were less likely to have a CT scan (46.2% vs 62.8% mixed vs 64% adult).

Conclusions Children’s MTC have lower crude and adjusted 30-day mortality rates for adolescent trauma. Further research is required in this field to identify the factors that may have influenced these findings.

  • paediatrics
  • paediatric injury
  • paediatric emergency medicine
  • trauma
  • majot trauma management

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request to the corresponding author.

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