Background: Damage control laparotomy (DCL) is not well studied in the pediatric trauma population. The purpose of this study was to develop a surrogate definition of DCL compatible with national and administrative data sources so that the rate and outcomes of DCL in pediatric trauma patients could be determined. Methods: Using the 2010–2014 National Trauma Data Bank, children ≤18 with an abdominal AIS ≥ 3 who underwent a laparotomy within 3 h of arrival were identified (n = 2989). DCL was defined as occurring in children who underwent a second laparotomy within 5–48 h from the index laparotomy (n = 360). Children meeting these criteria were compared to those children who had the initial definitive operative management (n = 2174) and those who died prior to 48 h (n = 455). Results: DCL occurred in 12% of children with operative abdominal trauma. Children who underwent DCL had a greater median ISS (25 vs 18) and heart rate (112 vs 100), lower systolic blood pressure (104 vs 113), and GCS (12 vs 13), and were more likely to receive a preoperative blood transfusion (19 vs 11%) than those who had definitive initial operative management (all p < .05). Median length of stay (17 vs 8 days) and mortality (9 vs 2%) were greater following DCL than definitive initial operative management (p < .001). No differences in rate of DCL were seen based on ACS pediatric verification (p = .07). Conclusions: Few children with operative abdominal trauma undergo DCL. DCL was associated with worse physiology rather than anatomic injury severity in this study. As expected, outcomes were worse following DCL.
- Damage control
- Pediatric trauma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health