Extremity vascular injuries in children are rare events that present unique therapeutic challenges. The absence of a pediatric-specific protocol for definitive care of these injuries risks variability in treatment practices and outcomes. Using a nationwide data set, we investigated variations in the management and outcomes of pediatric patients with peripheral vascular trauma
and characterized differences based on hospital category.
Retrospective cohort study using the American College of Surgeons (ACS) National Trauma Data Bank to identify patients 16 years or younger with extremity vascular trauma
admitted in calendar year 2016. Hospitals were categorized as ACS-verified pediatric trauma
centers (Level I or II), ACS-verified adult trauma centers (Level I or II), or other hospitals (all other trauma centers and nondesignated hospitals). Patient data were evaluated by hospital category.
Among 164,882 pediatric admissions, 702 patients were identified for analysis. There were 430 (61.3%) patients with upper-extremity injuries
, 270 (38.5%) with lower-extremity injuries
, and 2 (0.2%) had both. Mean age was 11.5 years, and 51.6% were blunt-injured. Overall, 40.2% were admitted to pediatric trauma
centers, 28.9% to adult trauma centers, and 30.9% to other hospitals. Hospitals without ACS trauma center verification had a significantly higher amputation rate than any ACS-verified adult or pediatric center (p
The incidence of pediatric extremity vascular injury is low. Hospitals with ACS trauma center verification have greater pediatric limb salvage rates than those without verification. Future study should seek to identify specific regional or resource-related factors that contribute to this disparity.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Epidemiological, level III.