Penetrating Craniocerebral Injury Resultant from Gunshot Wounds: Gang-related Injury in Children and Adolescents

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WE PROSPECTIVELY AND retrospectively reviewed a series of 780 patients who presented to the University of Southern California/Los Angeles County Medical Center with a diagnosis of gunshot wound to the brain during an 8-year period. Of these, 105 were children ranging in age from 6 months to 17 years. Injuries were gang related in 76 (72%) children and adolescents. Stepwise linear regression analysis was used to formulate a predictive model of outcome in this population. Patient age (F = 10.92), sex (F = 9.32), occipital entry site (F = 8.17), bihemispheric injury (F = 8.50), and admission Glasgow Coma Scale (F = 69.91) were all found to correlate with outcome (P < 0.05). Significant differences between pediatric and adult populations were noted in transit time, entrance site, and age-related outcome. Occipital or assassination-type wounds were most common in children. In addition, a younger age was associated with poor outcome (P < 0.0001). We describe both the economic and racial trends in our population of patients in addition to weapon type and toxicological evaluation. The Department of Neurological Surgery is becoming directly involved in providing information to children at the junior high school level regarding gang activity and brain and spinal cord injury. In conjunction with the Community Youth Gang Services Organization and Think First Organization, we are attempting to integrate prevention through education and community mobilization. This is a plan aimed at informing and recovering the youth affected by gangs.

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