The pediatric trauma center and the inclusive trauma system: Impact on splenectomy rates.

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BACKGROUND: Before 2006, the Delaware Trauma System (DTS) did not include a designated pediatric trauma center (PTC). In 2006, the Delaware Trauma System designated and the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma verification/consultation program verified Nemours AI DuPont Hospital for Children, a freestanding children's hospital, as a PTC. We evaluated the impact of the addition of the PTC to the state trauma system on pediatric traumatic splenectomy rates.

METHODS: The study cohort comprised DTS trauma registry recorded children younger than 16 years with spleen injury (ICD-9 codes 865.0-865.9) from January 1998 through December 2012. This cohort was categorized into pre-PTC (1998-2005) and post-PTC (2006-2012) groups. Penetrating injuries were excluded. Comparisons between groups included age, gender, length of stay, organ-specific injury grade, Injury Severity Score, incidence of polytrauma, splenectomy rate, and admitting hospital. Management, operative versus nonoperative, of low grade (Organ Injury Scale [OIS] score, 1-3) and high grade (OIS score, 4-5) were also compared. Pearson's χ analysis was performed for categorical variables. Continuous variables were reported as mean (standard deviation) and compared by Student's t test for independent normally distributed samples. Mann-Whitney U-test was used for non-normally distributed variables. A value of p < 0.05 was considered significant.

RESULTS: Of the 231 pediatric spleen injuries, 118 occurred pre-PTC and 113 occurred post-PTC. There were no significant differences in age, gender, length of stay, Injury Severity Score, OIS grade, or incidence of polytrauma. Splenectomy rates decreased from 11% (13 of 118) pre-PTC to 2.7% (3 of 113) post-PTC (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSION: The addition of an American College of Surgeons-verified PTC within an inclusive trauma system that was previously without one was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of blunt trauma-related splenectomy. Integration of a verified PTC is an influential factor in achieving spleen preservation rates equivalent to published American Pediatric Surgery Association benchmarks within a trauma system.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic study, level IV; epidemiologic study, level III.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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