Does Vehicle Intrusion Alone Still Predict Injury: A Retrospective Analysis Of Mechanism As Trauma Activation Criteria

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American Surgeon


Automobile collisions with driver side intrusion >12 inches or >18 elsewhere meet criteria for trauma activation. However, vehicle safety features have improved since this inception. We hypothesized vehicle intrusion (VI) alone as mechanism-of-injury (MOI) criteria inadequately predicts trauma center activation. A retrospective, single-center chart review of adult patients involved in motor vehicle collisions presenting to a level 1 trauma center from July 2016 to March 2022 was performed. Patients were divided by MOI criteria: VI vs. multiple MOI criteria. 2940 patients met inclusion criteria. The VI group reported lower injury severity scores (P = 0.004), higher incidence of ED discharge (P = 0.001), lower ICU admissions (P = 0.004), and fewer in-hospital procedures (P = 0.03). Vehicle intrusion was found to have a positive likelihood ratio of 0.889 for predicting trauma center need. According to current guidelines, these results suggest that VI criteria alone may not be an accurate predictor for trauma center transport and require further investigation.

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