Improving ATLS performance in simulated pediatric trauma resuscitation using a checklist

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of Surgery








Checklist; pediatrics; resuscitation; wounds and injuries


OBJECTIVE:: To develop a checklist for use during pediatric trauma resuscitation and test its effectiveness during simulated resuscitations. BACKGROUND:: Checklists have been used to support a wide range of complex medical activities and have effectively reduced errors and improved outcomes in different medical settings. Checklists have not been evaluated in the domain of trauma resuscitation. METHODS:: A focus group of trauma specialists was organized to develop a checklist for pediatric trauma resuscitation. This checklist was then tested in simulated trauma resuscitations to evaluate its impact on team performance. Resuscitations conducted with and without the checklist were compared using the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) performance score, designed to measure adherence to ATLS protocol, and surveys of team membersÊ subjective workload. RESULTS:: The focus group generated a checklist with 56 items divided into 5 sections corresponding to different phases of trauma resuscitation. In simulation testing, the total ATLS performance score was 4.9 points higher with a checklist than without (P < 0.001), with most of this difference related to improvement in performance of the secondary survey (+3.3 points, P < 0.001). Overall, workload scores were not affected by the addition of the checklist. CONCLUSIONS:: Implementing a checklist during simulated pediatric trauma resuscitation improves adherence to the ATLS protocol without increasing the workload of trauma team members. © 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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