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Althammer, Alexander; Prückner, Stephan; Gehring, Geogr Christian; Lieftüchter, Victoria; Trentzsch, Heiko; Hoffmann, Florian (2023): Systemic review of age brackets in pediatric emergency medicine literature and the development of a universal age classification for pediatric emergency patients - the Munich Age Classification System (MACS). BMC Emergency Medicine, 23 (1). ISSN 1471-227X

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Currently arbitrary, inconsistent and non-evidence-based age cutoffs are used in the literature to classify pediatric emergencies. None of these classifications have valid medical rationale. This leads to confusion and poor comparability of the different study results. To clarify this problem, this paper presents a systematic review of the commonly used age limits from 115 relevant articles. In the literature search 6226 articles were screened. To be included, the articles had to address the following three topics: “health services research in emergency medicine”, “pediatrics” and “age as a differentiator”. Physiologic and anatomic principles with reference to emergency medicine were used to solve the problem to create a medically based age classification for the first time.

The Munich Age Classification System (MACS) presented in this paper is thus consistent with previous literature and is based on medical evidence. In the future, MAC should lead to ensure that a uniform classification is used. This will allow a better comparability of study results and enable meta-analyses across studies.

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