Effect of Implementing the Out-of-Hospital Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment Guidelines: The Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care for Children Study

Study objective

We evaluate the effect of implementing the out-of-hospital pediatric traumatic brain injury guidelines on outcomes in children with major traumatic brain injury.


The Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care for Children study is the preplanned secondary analysis of the Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care study, a multisystem, intention-to-treat study using a before-after controlled design. This subanalysis included children younger than 18 years who were transported to Level I trauma centers by participating out-of-hospital agencies between January 1, 2007, and June 30, 2015, throughout Arizona. The primary and secondary outcomes were survival to hospital discharge or admission for children with major traumatic brain injury and in 3 subgroups, defined a priori as those with moderate, severe, and critical traumatic brain injury. Outcomes in the preimplementation and postimplementation cohorts were compared with logistic regression, adjusting for risk factors and confounders.


There were 2,801 subjects, 2,041 in preimplementation and 760 in postimplementation. The primary analysis (postimplementation versus preimplementation) yielded an adjusted odds ratio of 1.16 (95% confidence interval 0.70 to 1.92) for survival to hospital discharge and 2.41 (95% confidence interval 1.17 to 5.21) for survival to hospital admission. In the severe traumatic brain injury cohort (Regional Severity Score–Head 3 or 4), but not the moderate or critical subgroups, survival to discharge significantly improved after guideline implementation (adjusted odds ratio = 8.42; 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 100+). The improvement in survival to discharge among patients with severe traumatic brain injury who received positive-pressure ventilation did not reach significance (adjusted odds ratio = 9.13; 95% confidence interval 0.79 to 100+).


Implementation of the pediatric out-of-hospital traumatic brain injury guidelines was not associated with improved survival when the entire spectrum of severity was analyzed as a whole (moderate, severe, and critical). However, both adjusted survival to hospital admission and discharge improved in children with severe traumatic brain injury, indicating a potential severity-based interventional opportunity for guideline effectiveness. These findings support the widespread implementation of the out-of-hospital pediatric traumatic brain injury guidelines.

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