To determine whether mortality and length of stay at a pediatric trauma center differ between patients admitted by interhospital transfer and those admitted directly from the injury scene.
Analysis of prospectively collected data from a pediatric trauma center database.
A designated regional level I pediatric trauma center.
Injured children from birth to 17 years of age hospitalized between January 1, 2006, and September 30, 2007.
Incident in-hospital mortality rates and length of stay at the trauma center were compared between patients admitted directly and those admitted by interhospital transfer, controlling for potential confounders.
In-hospital mortality and duration of hospitalization.
Of 2192 patients admitted to the trauma center, 1175 (53.6%) were admitted directly from the injury scene. Patients admitted by interhospital transfer had higher injury severity and lower Glasgow Coma Scale scores at admission (P < .01). Of 31 deaths during the study period, 26 (83.9%) were among patients admitted by interhospital transfer. These patients had a 7-fold higher unadjusted incident rate of death (incidence rate ratio, 7.16; 95% confidence interval, 2.49-20.58) compared with those admitted directly. This finding remained (incidence rate ratio, 3.01; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-8.98) after adjustment for injury severity and Glasgow Coma Scale scores, elapsed time from injury until admission at the trauma center, and age. Among survivors, patients admitted by interhospital transfer stayed longer in the hospital than those admitted directly.
Pediatric trauma center mortality rates are lower among children admitted directly from the injury scene compared with those admitted by interhospital transfer.