Firearm injuries in a pediatric population: African-American adolescents continue to carry the heavy burden

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Firearm injuries in a pediatric population: African-American adolescents continue to carry the heavy burden

Category: Homicide, Injury, Unintentional, Youth|Journal: The American Journal of Surgery (full text)|Author: A Feliz, J Freeman, M Bachier-Rodriguez|Year: 2017

Background

Firearm injuries have the highest case-fatality rate among pediatric trauma related deaths. We sought to determine whether demographics, mechanism of injury, and outcomes were age specific.

Methods

We performed a 5 year retrospective analysis of patients 0–19 years old with firearm related injuries. Children were divided into two cohorts based on age. Mann-Whitney and Pearson’s X2 were used to compare continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Significance was established at p < 0.05.

Data

Compared to their younger counterparts, children >15 years old were more likely to be male (82% vs. 90%, p = 0.02), African-American (71% vs 89%, p < 0.0001), and injured due to assault (76.9% vs 44.6%, p < 0.0001). Mortality rates for children <14 was 1.4 times the national average (10.7% vs. 7.5%) while the rate for children >15 was 3.9 times the national average (12.4% vs. 3.2%).

Conclusion

Firearm injuries continue to be a prevalent public health concern greatly affecting African-American adolescent males. Prevention strategies and trauma related healthcare resource utilization should target this group in order to reduce the risk of injury and improve outcomes and case-fatality in our population.

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