Undertriage after severe injury among United States trauma centers and the impact on mortality

Stephanie F. Polites, Jennifer M. Leonard, Amy E. Glasgow, Martin D. Zielinski, Donald H. Jenkins, Elizabeth B. Habermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: Severely injured patients should receive definitive care at high acuity trauma centers. The purposes of this study were to determine the undertriage (UT) rate within a national sample of trauma centers and to identify characteristics of UT patients. Methods: Severely injured adults ≥16 years were identified from the 2010-2012 NTDB. UT was defined as those who received definitive care or died at hospitals without state or ACS level I or II verification. Risk factors for UTT and the impact of UT on mortality were determined. Results: Of 348,394 severely injured patients, 11,578 (3.3%) were UT. Older, less severely injured, and certain minority patients were most likely to be UT. After risk adjustment, predictors of UT included increased age and minority race. Increased injury severity and comorbidity were protective (all p <.05). Mortality was greater in UT patients regardless of ISS (OR = 1.32, p <.001). Conclusion: The low UT rate in this study demonstrates the effectiveness of triage practices amongst ACS and state verified centers however age, race, and insurance disparities in UT should be improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-818
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Trauma
  • Trauma system
  • Triage
  • Undertriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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