Panamerican Journal of Trauma, Critical Care & Emergency Surgery

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VOLUME 8 , ISSUE 3 ( September-December, 2019 ) > List of Articles


Prior Emergency Department Utilization as a Predictor for Severe Penetrating Trauma: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Michael Goodman, Stephen R Pitts

Keywords : Cohort study, Emergency medicine, Injury epidemiology, Injury prevention, Penetrating injuries, Violence

Citation Information : Goodman M, Pitts SR. Prior Emergency Department Utilization as a Predictor for Severe Penetrating Trauma: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Panam J Trauma Crit Care Emerg Surg 2019; 8 (3):170-175.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10030-1256

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 07-12-2019

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2019; The Author(s).


Background: While extensive research has been conducted on healthcare utilization after severe penetrating trauma events, there is a dearth of information on healthcare utilization prior to these events. This study examined the emergency department (ED) utilization patterns to determine if prior ED visits for injury were a risk factor for severe penetrating trauma. Materials and methods: This retrospective cohort study examined the ED visit records of 215,800 patients with 489,800 ED visits and 3,322 trauma registry patients from November 2010 to February 2015 at Grady Memorial Hospital, a large, urban hospital with a level I trauma center. Data analysis was conducted using logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models. Results: Among 215,800 ED patients, 224 patients with prior ED visits experienced severe penetrating trauma (as reported to the trauma registry). After adjustment for age, sex, employment, insurance, high utilization, and admission status, prior ED visits for injury were associated with severe penetrating trauma (OR 1.60, CI 1.21–2.10, p = 0.001). Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) for factors associated with time to a penetrating trauma event following a patient's last ED visit. After adjusting for age, sex, employment status, admission status, high utilization, and insurance status, patients with an injury diagnosis at their last ED visit had a HR of 1.43 (CI 1.07–1.93, p = 0.016). Conclusion: After adjusting for confounders, a previous ED visit for injury remained a significant risk factor for severe penetrating trauma and an elevated rate of time to penetrating trauma. These findings suggest a need for targeted violence intervention programs and improved ED injury surveillance.

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