Infections in severely traumatized children

Louis M. Bell, M. Douglas Baker, Dennis Beatty, Lesli Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


To study the incidence and types of infection among severely traumatized children, we reviewed the medical charts of 212 children, hospitalized following traumatic injury, who received antibiotics at sometime during their hospitalization. Infection occurred in 19%. Eleven children had trauma-related infections, whereas 29 (71% of those infected) had 36 nosocomial infections. Tracheitis, sepsis, and urinary tract infections were the most common nosocomial infections and were diagnosed in the second week (10 ± 3 days) following injury. Nosocomial infections were more likely to develop in children who were more severely injured and who had a greater number of invasive procedures. Severe head injury (cerebral edema or subarachnoid hemorrhage) was more common in those with nosocomial infection (P < .0002, odds ratio 6.8, 95% confidence interval 2.2 to 21.3). Those without these injuries were much less likely to develop nosocominal infections (specificity 97% and negative predictive value 86%). Finally, the development of any nosocomial infection prolonged the hospitalization by a mean of 16 ± 6 days when comparing children with the same degree of traumatic injury. Prevention of nosocomial infection in children with severe trauma will significantly reduce length of hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1394-1398
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Nosocomial infection
  • head trauma, pediatric
  • trauma, pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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