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Keywords:

  • limitations;
  • outcome;
  • revised trauma score;
  • triage

The revised trauma score (RTS) has been embraced by the trauma community worldwide. Although originally developed as a triage tool, the use of the RTS has since been expanded to include the prediction of outcome following traumatic injury. Through a critical review of the literature, evidence for use of the RTS is discussed along with the limitations of this commonly used tool. In summary, the RTS is a well-established predictor of mortality in trauma populations, but there is a lack of definitive evidence supporting its use as a primary triage tool and as a predictor of outcomes other than mortality. Difficulty in collecting the components of the RTS creates issues for data validity and the use of the RTS as a research tool. Although the weighted RTS has been developed to improve the prediction capacity of the RTS, studies reporting its use are few and there is debate regarding the applicability of the published coefficients for broad use. Overall, further studies are warranted to clearly establish the usefulness of the RTS as a triage tool in the field, to further evaluate the weighted version of the RTS, and to determine the ability of the RTS to predict functional outcome and quality of life. In particular, future research is needed to address these issues in Australian trauma populations.