The burden of firearm injuries on the hospital system, 2000–2020

GVPedia Study Database

The burden of firearm injuries on the hospital system, 2000–2020

Category: Firearm Policies, Injury, Suicide|Journal: Injury Epidemiology (full text)|Author: A Davoudi, L Woodworth|Year: 2023


Firearm injuries are a long-running yet preventable public health concern in the USA. We analyzed national inpatient data to determine the burden of firearm injuries on the USA hospital system. For each year from 2000–2014 and 2016–2020, we calculated the annual frequency of firearm hospitalization in the USA overall and by the intent of the shooter. We also calculated the rate of firearm hospitalizations per 100,000 inpatient encounters. For each outcome, we used regression analysis to estimate the average year-over-year change. Finally, we explored the types of firearms responsible for firearm hospitalizations.


Each year during 2000–2020 (excluding 2015), there were an average of 30,428 firearm hospitalizations in the USA. On average, firearm hospitalizations represented 84 out of every 100,000 inpatient encounters each year. There was not a statistically significant year-over-year increase in firearm hospitalizations for either the periods 2000–2014 or 2016–2020. However, firearm hospitalizations were noticeably higher in 2020 than in other years. Until 2019, the most frequent intent among firearm hospitalizations was assault. Beginning in 2019, assaults were outnumbered by unintentional firearm hospitalizations. According to diagnosis codes, handguns were used more often than rifles/shotguns/larger firearms in firearm injuries that resulted in hospitalization for the intents assault (27.93% handguns; 5.87% rifles/shotguns/larger firearms), unintentional (23.94% handguns; 10.48% rifles/shotguns/larger firearms), self-harm (46.63% handguns; 14.35% rifles/shotguns/larger firearms) and undetermined (17.82% handguns; 6.21% rifles/shotguns/larger firearms). Frequently, the type of firearm responsible for the hospitalization was not recorded in the patient’s diagnosis code.


Firearm injuries inflict a significant burden on the hospital system in the USA. While firearm hospitalizations were unusually high in 2020, there is not strong evidence that the burden of firearm injuries on the hospital system is changing over time. The frequent non-identification of the type of firearm responsible for the injury in hospital patients’ diagnosis code complicates injury surveillance efforts.

Verified by MonsterInsights