CHILDREN OR YOUNG ADULTS? A POPULATION-BASED STUDY ON ADOLESCENT HEAD INJURY

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Abstract

Background

The aim was to study the epidemiology of significant adolescent head injury in a statewide population.

Methods

A retrospective review of all significant adolescent (12–19 years old) head injuries over a period of 3 years was undertaken and compared with those of children (0–11 years old) and young adults (20–29 years old).

Results

The incidence of significant adolescent head injury was 19.2 per 100 000 adolescents per year. This compared to the incidence in children of 12.9 per 100 000 and in young adult of 14.7 per 100 000. Of all significant adolescent head injuries, 63.9% are managed at adult trauma centres.

Results

Demographics, pathology, neurosurgical management, length of intensive care unit stay, ventilated hours and length of hospital stay were similar to those of young adults and significantly different from those of children. Prehospital predictors of mortality were similar across all groups. Adolescent discharge destinations were similar to those of young adults and significantly different from those of children.

Conclusions

The study emphasizes the incidence of and mortality from adolescent head injury. The pattern of adolescent head injury is different from that of children and supports current practice of treatment of a majority of adolescents in adult trauma centres. These differences have implications on planning for injury prevention and trauma management.

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