Prehospital and emergency management of pediatric traumatic brain injury: a multicenter site survey


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OBJECTIVE There is a paucity of information on pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) care in Asia and Latin America. In this study, the authors aimed to describe the clinical practices of emergency departments (EDs) participating in the Saline in Asia and Latin-America Neurotrauma in the Young (SALTY) study, by comparing designated trauma centers (DTCs) and nontrauma centers (NTCs) in their networks. METHODS The authors performed a site survey study on pediatric TBI management in the EDs in 14 countries. Two European centers joined other participating sites in Asia and Latin America. Questions were formulated after a critical review of current TBI guidelines and published surveys. The authors performed a descriptive analysis and stratified centers based on DTC status. RESULTS Of 24 responding centers (70.6%), 50.0% were DTCs, 70.8% had academic affiliations, and all centers were in urban settings. Patients were predominantly transferred to DTCs by centralized prehospital services compared to those sent to NTCs (83.3% vs 41.7%, p = 0.035). More NTCs received a majority of their patients directly from the trauma scene compared to DTCs (66.7% vs 25.0%, p = 0.041). Ten centers (41.7%) reported the use of a TBI management guideline, and 15 (62.5%) implemented CT protocols. Ten DTCs reported implementation of intervention strategies for suspected raised intracranial pressure (ICP) before conducting a CT scan, and 6 NTCs also followed this practice (83.3% vs 50.0%, p = 0.083). ED management for children with TBI was comparable between DTCs and NTCs in the following aspects: neuroimaging, airway management, ICP monitoring, fluid resuscitation, anticoagulant therapy, and serum glucose control. Hyperventilation therapy for raised ICP was used by 33.3% of sites. CONCLUSIONS This study evaluated pediatric TBI management and infrastructure among 24 centers. Limited differences in prehospital care and ED management for pediatric patients with TBI were observed between DTCs and NTCs. Both DTCs and NTCs showed variation in the implementation of current TBI management guidelines. There is an urgent need to investigate specific barriers to guideline implementation in these regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-606
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Asia
  • Latin America
  • emergency department
  • guideline
  • pediatric
  • prehospital
  • traumatic brain injury


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