The relationship between severity of illness or injury before interhospital transport and the incidence of physiologic deterioration during transport was studied in 117 pediatric patients. Transports were done by referring hospital personnel. Pretransport severity was expressed as the Pediatric Risk of Mortality score for all patients and as the Modified Injury Severity Score for trauma patients. For 71 patients with Pediatric Risk of Mortality scores less than 10, deterioration during transport occurred in 3 (4%) and hospital mortality occurred in 2 (3%). For 10 victims of trauma with Modified Injury Severity Scores less than 10, none had deterioration during transport or hospital mortality. The rare occurrence of serious problems related to transport in low-risk patients indicates that referring hospital personnel are capable of safely transporting such patients. The incidence of physiologic deterioration during transport was significantly greater (P less than .01) with greater pretransport severity of illness or injury. Failure to intubate the trachea was not a major preventable cause of deterioration. The most common preventable problem occurred for 6 of 79 patients with endotracheal tubes that became occluded with secretions, leading to cyanosis in 2 patients. Our data concerning high-risk patients with specified pretransport severity provide a basis for comparison for further evaluation of the benefit of specialized pediatric transport services.
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