Economic burden of injuries in children: Cohort study based on administrative data in a northwestern Italian region

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Background:The aims of the present study were to identify which types of injuries are responsible for the major component of the health burden and to estimate the relative costs in a cohort of Italian children.Methods:All children (0–14 years) residing in the Piedmont region, who were hospitalized for an injury (ICD–9–CM codes 800–995, excluding late effects from injury and allergies) between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2003, were considered. The cohort was linked by a unique identifier to: all the hospitalizations, all the day–hospital care, and all the prescribed medicines. Outcome was defined as the difference in health service use in the 12 months following the injury, and was compared to the year preceding the injury occurrence. Total number of hospital admissions for each individual, cumulative length of stay, day–hospital care, and prescribed medicines were calculated for the two periods. The cost of additional inpatient days and of additional outpatient care was calculated.Results:The three most common injury categories were: intracranial injury (27.6%), fracture of upper limb (18.7%); and fracture of lower limb (9.07%); they were responsible for the major part of the additional inpatient days (55%) and outpatient care (70%). The additional expense for the National Health System during the year following an injury is approximately 1700Symbol for children aged 0–14.Conclusions:This is the first Italian study to attempt to quantify the injury economic burden in a cohort of children: the costs imposed on society by injuries, suggest how important it is to commit resources to injury prevention.

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