Journal Article
Observational Study
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Pediatric trauma patients in Swedish ambulance services -a retrospective observational study of assessments, interventions, and clinical outcomes.

BACKGROUND: Pediatric trauma patients constitute a significant portion of the trauma population treated by Swedish Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and trauma remains a notable cause of death among Swedish children. Previous research has identified potential challenges in prehospital assessments and interventions for pediatric patients. In Sweden, there is limited information available regarding pediatric trauma patients in the EMS. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of pediatric trauma patients within the Swedish EMS and describe the prehospital assessments, interventions, and clinical outcomes.

METHODS: This retrospective observational study was conducted in a region of Southwestern Sweden. A random sample from ambulance and hospital records from the year 2019 was selected. Inclusion criteria were children aged 0-16 years who were involved in trauma and assessed by EMS clinicians.

RESULTS: A total of 440 children were included in the study, representing 8.4% of the overall trauma cases. The median age was 9 years (IQR 3-12), and 60.5% were male. The leading causes of injury were low (34.8%) and high energy falls (21%), followed by traffic accidents. The children were assessed as severely injured in 4.5% of cases. A quarter of the children remained at the scene after assessment. Complete vital signs were assessed in 29.3% of children, and 81.8% of children were assessed according to the ABCDE structure. The most common intervention performed by prehospital professionals was the administration of medication. The mortality rate was 0.2%.

CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric trauma cases accounted for 8.4% of the overall trauma population with a variations in injury mechanisms and types. Vital sign assessments were incomplete for a significant proportion of children. The adherence to the ABCDE structure, however, was higher. The children remained at the scene after assessment requires further investigation for patient safety.

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