Accuracy of Initial Critical Care Triage Decisions in Blast Versus Non-Blast Trauma

Ari M. Lipsky, Yoram Klein, Adi Givon, Moti Klein, Jeffrey S. Hammond, Kobi Peleg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We investigated the accuracy of initial critical care triage in blast-injured versus non-blast-injured trauma patients, focusing on those inappropriately triaged to the intensive care unit (ICU) for brief (<16 h) stays. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of the Israel National Trauma Registry, applying a predetermined definition of need for initial ICU admission. Results: A total of 883 blast-injured and 112 185 non-blast-injured patients were categorized according to their need for ICU admission. Of these admissions, 5.7% in the blast setting and 8.4% in the non-blast setting were considered unnecessary. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative likelihood ratios for the triage officers' decisions in assigning patients to the ICU were 95.5%, 98.8%, 77.2, and 0.05, respectively, in the blast setting, and 91.2%, 99.5%, 200.5, and 0.09, respectively, in the non-blast setting. Conclusions: Triage officers do a better job sending to the ICU only those patients who require initial intensive care in the non-blast setting, though this is obscured by a much greater overall need for ICU-level care in the blast setting. Implementing triage protocols in the blast setting may help reduce the number of patients sent initially to the ICU for brief periods, thus increasing the availability of this resource.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-332
Number of pages7
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number1
StatePublished - 13 Feb 2014


  • blast injuries
  • intensive care
  • mass casualty incidents
  • triage
  • wounds and injuries


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