Delayed Diagnosis of Injury in Pediatric Trauma Patients at a Level I Trauma Center

Geoffrey Lowe, Jefferson Tweed, Michael Cooper, Faisal Qureshi, Craig Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Trauma care per Advanced Trauma Life Support addresses immediate threats to life. Occasionally, delays in injury diagnosis occur. Delayed diagnosis of injury (DDI) is a common quality indicator in trauma care, and pediatric DDI data are sparse. Objective: Our aim was to describe the DDI rate in a severely injured pediatric trauma population and identify any factors associated with DDI in the pediatric population. Methods: A prospective cohort of trauma activations in 0- to 16-year-old patients admitted to a pediatric level I trauma center over 12 months with injuries prospectively recorded were followed during admission to identify DDI. Results: A total of 170 trauma activations were enrolled. Twelve patients had type I DDI (7.1%), 15 patients had type II DDI (8.8%), and 5 patients had both type I and type II DDI (2.9%). DDI patients had twice as many injuries and higher Injury Severity Scores (ISS) as non-DDI patients. DDI patients were more likely to require intensive care unit (ICU) admission, longer hospital stay, and ventilator support. Controlling for age and ISS in multivariate analysis, the number of injuries found and requiring a ventilator were significantly associated with DDI. Conclusions: This prospective study found a type I DDI rate of 7.1% and a type II DDI rate of 8.8% in the pediatric population. DDI patients had a greater number of injuries, higher ISS, higher rate of ICU admission, and were more likely to require mechanical ventilation. This study adds prospective data to the pediatric DDI literature, increases provider awareness of pediatric DDI, and lays the foundation for future study and quality improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-590
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • delayed diagnosis of injury
  • injury diagnosis
  • major injury
  • missed injury
  • pediatric
  • pediatric emergency
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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