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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803


LUGO, Silvina  and  PAVLICICH, Viviana. Application of the Pediatric Assessment Triangle to the Triage Classification System in an Emergency Department. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2012, vol.39, n.1, pp.27-32. ISSN 1683-9803.

Objectives: To assess the validity of the pediatric assessment triangle (PAT) as a new discriminator when applied to the triage classification system. To identify factors that could cause confusion during application of the pediatric assessment triangle. To assess whether correlation is found between pathophysiological diagnosis and triage classification, and determine whether reception, attention, and classification (RAC) personnel apply the care priorities. Methods: We conducted a prospective, observational, and comparative study. Data were collected by a single trained observer while the nurse in charge of classification assigned care priorities. Results: The study selected 157 children with a mean age of 4.3 years for inclusion. Pathophysiological diagnoses obtained applying PAT were: 138 patients (87.9%) were stable, 8 (5.1%) experienced respiratory distress, 6 (3.8%) experienced compensated shock, 3 (1.9%) showed central nervous system dysfunction, 1 (0.6%) presented respiratory failure, and 1 (0.6%) decompensated shock. In 150 cases agreement was found between the diagnoses of the trained observer and the nurse; in 7 cases there was disagreement (CI: 0.91, Κ: 0.90).  As a confounding factor, pallor was associated with 2 errors. Errors were seen in 2 of 13 children with polypnea. Irritability, consolable or non-consolable, was seen in 54 children, but not associated with diagnostic error. Correlating PAT diagnosis and risk classification showed concordance between patients classified as stable and non-urgent (CI: 0.85 K: 0.83), stable and semi-urgent (CI: 0.96 K: 0.95), between respiratory distress and compensated shock with urgencies (CI: 0.81 K: 0.79), and emergency and respiratory failure or decompensated shock (CI: 0.6 K: 0.5).In regard to priorities, 18 of 18 children with fever received antipyretics, 8 of 13 experiencing pain received analgesics, 6 of 9 with vomiting received antiemetics, 4 were hydrated prior to medical attention, 2 of 9 with bronchial spasms received inhaled bronchodilators, 2 of 9 with respiratory distress received oxygen, and 117 did not require intervention. Conclusions: High interobserver agreement was found in the application of PAT. Polypnea, pre-existing pallor, and irritability were not associated with errors in the application of PAT. Treatment priorities were met in children with fever, and to a lesser degree for the variables of pain, respiratory distress and need for oxygen. Training of personnel in advance triage is needed.

Keywords : Pediatric assessment triangle; triage; validity of triage triangle; emergencies.

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