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13.02.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 5/2019

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery 5/2019

Surgical treatment strategies in pediatric trauma patients: ETC vs. DCO—an analysis of 316 pediatric trauma patients from the TraumaRegister DGU®

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery > Ausgabe 5/2019
Klemens Horst, Hagen Andruszkow, Christian David Weber, Miguel Pishnamaz, Matthias Knobe, Felix Marius Bläsius, Philipp Lichte, Rolf Lefering, Frank Hildebrand



External fixation within the damage control concept in unstable multiple trauma patients is widely accepted. Literature about its usage in the pediatric trauma population, however, is rare. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the factors associated with the application of external fixation in the severely injured child.


Patients with severe trauma aged 0–54 years documented in the TraumaRegister DGU® were included in this study. Demographic data, pattern of injury, injury severity, use of the damage control orthopedics (DCO) or early total care (ETC) concept, duration of mechanical ventilation, intensive care stay, and total hospital stay as well as the occurrence of complications and mortality were evaluated. Statistical evaluation was performed using SPSS (Version 21.0.0) using Chi square tests and linear regression models.


While injury severity was comparable between children and adults, type of accident and injury patterns showed significant differences, Overall, the majority of surgical fracture stabilization in AISExtremity ≥ 3 injuries followed the DCO concept in adults (60.3%) and the ETC protocol in children (49.4%). Conservative treatment was chosen for only 11.6% of all children and 9.6% of all adults. An increasing injury severity, AISExtremity ≥ 3 and AISExtremity ≥ 3 in ≥ 2 body regions, and a more advanced age were found to be independent factors in the use of the DCO concept in children.


Use of external fixation increases with age and plays a minor role in the very young trauma population. However, this does not produce a difference in outcome between children and adults.

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