Evaluation of an Emergency Department High-risk Bruising Screening Protocol.

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The objective of this study was to describe the outcomes of implementing a high-risk bruise screening pathway in a pediatric emergency department (ED).A retrospective observational study was performed of children aged 0 to <48 months who presented to the ED between December 1, 2016, and April 1, 2019, and had bruising that is high-risk for physical abuse on a nurse screening examination. A high-risk bruise was defined as any bruise if aged <6 months or a bruise to the torso, ears, or neck if aged 6 to <48 months. Records of children with provider-confirmed high-risk bruising were reviewed.Of the 49 726 age-eligible children presenting to the ED, 43 771 (88%) were screened for bruising. Seven hundred eighty-three (1.8%) of those children had positive screen results and 163 (0.4%) had provider-confirmed high-risk bruising. Of the 8635 infants aged <6 months who were screened, 48 (0.6%) had high-risk bruising and 24 of 48 (50%) were classified as cases of likely or definite abuse. Skeletal surveys were performed in 29 of 48 (60%) infants, and 11 of 29 (38%) had occult fracture. Of the 35 136 children aged 6 to <48 months who were screened, 115 of 35 136 (0.3%) had high-risk bruising and 32 of 115 (28%) were classified as cases of likely or definite abuse.High-risk bruising was rarely present. When infants aged <6 months were evaluated per recommendations, occult fracture was identified in one-third of patients. The screening pathway could help other institutions identify occult injuries in pediatric ED patients.

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Authors: Caitlin E Crumm, Emily C B Brown, Siobhan Thomas-Smith, Daniel T Y Yu, James B Metz, Kenneth W Feldman