BACKGROUND: Injuries caused by emergencies and accidents are increasing in the world. To prioritise patients to provide them with proper services and to optimally use the resources and facilities of the medical centres during accidents, the use of triage systems, which are one of the key principles of accident management, seems essential. AIM: This study is an attempt to identify available triage systems and compare the differences and similarities of the standards of these systems during emergencies and disasters through a review study.

METHODS: This study was conducted through a review of the triage systems used in emergencies and disasters throughout the world. Accordingly, all articles published between 1990 and 2018 in both English and Persian journals were searched based on several keywords including Triage, Disaster, Mass Casualty Incidents, in the Medlib, Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, Cochrane Library, Science Direct, Google scholar, Irandoc, Magiran, Iranmedex, and SID databases in isolation and in combination using both and/ or conjunctions.

RESULTS: Based on the search done in these databases, twenty different systems were identified in the primary adult triage field including START, Homebush triage Standard, Sieve, CareFlight, STM, Military, CESIRA Protocol, MASS, Revers, CBRN Triage, Burn Triage, META Triage, Mass Gathering Triage, SwiFT Triage, MPTT, TEWS Triage, Medical Triage, SALT, mSTART and ASAV. There were two primary triage systems including Jump START and PTT for children, and also two secondary triage systems encompassing SAVE and Sort identified in this respect. ESI and CRAMS were two other cases distinguished for hospital triage systems.

CONCLUSION: There are divergent triage systems in the world, but there is no general and universal agreement on how patients and injured people should be triaged. Accordingly, these systems may be designed based on such criteria as vital signs, patient’s major problems, or the resources and facilities needed to respond to patients’ needs. To date, no triage system has been known as superior, specifically about the patients’ clinical outcomes, improvement of the scene management or allocation of the resources compared to other systems. Thus, it is recommended that different countries such as Iran design their triage model for emergencies and disasters by their native conditions, resources and relief forces.

Read the full study by downloading the PDF here.