Characteristics and outcomes of acute pediatric blunt torso trauma based on injury intent

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Abstract

Introduction

Blunt trauma is a leading cause of pediatric morbidity. We compared injuries, interventions and outcomes of acute pediatric blunt torso trauma based on intent.

Methods

We analyzed de-identified data from a prospective, multi-center emergency department (ED)-based observational cohort of children under age eighteen. Injuries were classified based on intent (unintentional/inflicted). We compared demographic, physical and laboratory findings, ED disposition, hospitalization, need for surgery, 30-day mortality, and cause of death between groups using Chi-squared or Fisher's test for categorical variables, and Mann-Whitney test for non-normal continuous factors comparing median values and interquartile ranges (IQR).

Results

There were 12,044 children who sustained blunt torso trauma: Inflicted = 720 (6%); Unintentional = 9563 (79.4%); Indeterminate = 148 (1.2%); Missing = 1613 (13.4%). Patients with unintentional torso injuries significantly differed from those with inflicted injuries in median age in years (IQR) [10 (5, 15) vs. 14 (8, 16); p-value < 0.001], race, presence of pelvic fractures, hospitalization and need for non-abdominal surgery. Mortality rates did not differ based on intent. Further adjustment using binary, logistic regression revealed that the risk of pelvic fractures in the inflicted group was 96% less than the unintentional group (OR: 0.04; 95%CI: 0.01–0.26; p-value = 0.001).

Conclusions

Children who sustain acute blunt torso trauma due to unintentional causes have a significantly higher risk of pelvic fractures and are more likely to be hospitalized compared to those with inflicted injuries.

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