Injury prevention research often entails describing the severity of injuries or controlling for the severity of injuries when comparing outcomes. Basically, injury severity scores are required to either prioritize interventions at the patient level (e.g., triage, medical care) or population level as well as when evaluating the effectiveness of injury control and prevention interventions. A number of injury severity scales have emerged since the 1960s and share specific characteristics, although they are conceptually different. The goal of this chapter is to describe the most commonly used injury severity scales in injury research and control. A number of dimensions associated with both the development and the usage of the injury scales are proposed to ease the comparison of the scales as well as to improve the understanding of the underlying concepts involved in their origin. Methodological issues related to their use in research environments are also highlighted. To conclude, this chapter discusses some of the existing challenges in injury severity measurement such as the need for further refinement of the concept itself, further methodological work on the scales themselves, and resolution of the debate on whether consensus-based or real-world severity scales are better.
Dr. Segui-Gomez’s efforts were supported by the European Center for Injury Prevention at Universidad de Navarra and the AAAM AIS Reference Center funding. Dr. Segui-Gomez chaired the AAAM AIS Committee at the time of writing; AIS related contents have been reviewed and approved by the AAAM Board. Mr. Lopez-Valdes’ efforts were supported by the Center for Applied Biomechanics at the University of Virginia. We thank Montserrat Ruiz Perez for her assistance in developing the text.
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