The Disturbing Findings of Pediatric Firearm Injuries From the National Trauma Data Bank: 2010-2016

Academic Article

Abstract

  • © 2020 Elsevier Inc. Background: Trauma is the leading cause of pediatric and adolescent morbidity and mortality. Firearm-related injuries and deaths contribute substantially to the overall disease burden. This study described the intent, location, demographics, and outcomes of a nationally representative pediatric population with firearm injuries. We hypothesized that younger patients would have a higher percentage of unintentional and self-inflicted injuries with associated higher mortality rates. Materials and methods: The National Trauma Data Bank, maintained by the American College of Surgeons, from 2010 to 2016 was utilized. All pediatric patients (0-19 y) with firearm injuries who had complete data were analyzed for mechanism, location, demographics, and outcomes. Basic descriptive statistics were used to compare subgroups. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was applied to investigate risk factors for firearm injury–caused mortality. Results: In the study period, 46,039 pediatric patients sustained firearm injuries (median age = 17 y). Males, Blacks, ages 15-19, and the Southern region were the most common injured demographics. However, subgroup analysis showed the demographics differ for self-inflicted and unintentional firearm injuries, which had significantly higher White patients (66.6% and 47.9%, respectively; P < 0.001). Nearly 76% of injuries were related to assaults, 14% were unintentional, 5% were self-inflicted, and 5% were undetermined. The overall mortality was nearly 12%. The youngest population had higher proportion of unintentional injuries and highest mortality rate when compared with other classifications of intent (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Pediatric firearm injuries have high mortality, especially in the youngest populations. Age-tailored prevention strategies, such as strict child access prevention laws and enforced gun storage violations, may help in reducing firearm injuries and improving health outcomes.
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    Author List

  • Esparaz JR; Waters AM; Mathis MS; Deng L; Xie R; Chen MK; Beierle EA; Russell RT