Characteristics and predictors of intensive care unit admission in pediatric blunt abdominal trauma

Steven C. Mehl, Megan E. Cunningham, Christian J. Streck, Rowland Pettit, Eunice Y. Huang, Matthew T. Santore, Kuojen Tsao, Richard A. Falcone, Melvin S. Dassinger, Jeffrey H. Haynes, Robert T. Russell, Bindi J. Naik-Mathuria, Shawn D. St. Peter, David Mooney, Jeffrey Upperman, Martin L. Blakely, Adam M. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pediatric trauma patients sustaining blunt abdominal trauma (BAT) with intra-abdominal injury (IAI) are frequently admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). This study was performed to identify predictors for ICU admission following BAT. Methods: Prospective study of children (< 16 years) who presented to 14 Level-One Pediatric Trauma Centers following BAT over a 1-year period. Patients were categorized as ICU or non-ICU patients. Data collected included vitals, physical exam findings, laboratory results, imaging, and traumatic injuries. A multivariable hierarchical logistic regression model was used to identify predictors of ICU admission. Predictive ability of the model was assessed via tenfold cross-validated area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (cvAUC). Results: Included were 2,182 children with 21% (n = 463) admitted to the ICU. On univariate analysis, ICU patients were associated with abnormal age-adjusted shock index, increased injury severity scores (ISS), lower Glasgow coma scores (GCS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and severe solid organ injury (SOI). With multivariable logistic regression, factors associated with ICU admission were severe trauma (ISS > 15), anemia (hematocrit < 30), severe TBI (GCS < 8), cervical spine injury, skull fracture, and severe solid organ injury. The cvAUC for the multivariable model was 0.91 (95% CI 0.88–0.92). Conclusion: Severe solid organ injury and traumatic brain injury, in association with multisystem trauma, appear to drive ICU admission in pediatric patients with BAT. These results may inform the design of a trauma bay prediction rule to assist in optimizing ICU resource utilization after BAT. Study design: Prognosis study. Level of evidence: 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-597
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt abdominal trauma
  • Intensive care
  • Intra-abdominal injury
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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