Trauma index revisited: a better triage tool

J. S. Smith, M. J. Bartholomew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In the development of triage and bypass protocols, many different scoring systems and triage criteria are being used. Our purpose was to evaluate the Revised Trauma Index (RTI) as a triage tool for both its severity prediction ability and triage accuracy. A total of 2,340 trauma admissions were evaluated using the RTI and the Injury Severity Score (ISS). The data were submitted to standardized statistical analysis and compared to other published data for under and overtriage. Our results show a linear correlation between the RTI and the ISS with a correlation coefficient of .62. There is 5% death rate at an RTI level of 15, which yields a 5% undertriage rate for death and a 37.3% overtriage rate for predicting an ISS >15. This compares to under and overtriage rates for the Trauma Score, CRAMS, Pre-Hospital Index, and Mechanism of Injury scales varying from 19% to 56% undertriage and 7% to 82% overtriage. We reached the following conclusions. a) The RTI is a simple, fast triage tool for predicting major trauma. b) The RTI is related to the ultimate ISS. c) Use of an RTI ≥15 results in an acceptable undertriage rate, with a better rate for overtriage than existing scores. d) Therefore, we recommend the RTI for use in emergency medical direction and bypass protocols.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-180
Number of pages7
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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