Firearm-Related Injuries: A Single Center Experience

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Firearm-Related Injuries: A Single Center Experience

Category: Crime, Homicide, Injury|Journal: Journal of Surgical Research (full text)|Author: A Masjedi, A Tang, B Joseph, J Richards, L Bibble, L Castanon, M Ditillo, P Vartanyan, S Asmar|Year: 2021

Introduction

Firearm-related injuries (FRI) are an important public health crisis in the US. There is relatively less city level data examining the injury-related trends in Tucson, Arizona. Our study aims to examine FRI, in Southern Arizona’s only Level I trauma center.

Methods

We conducted a (2014-2019) review of our Level-I trauma center registry. We selected all patients who were evaluated for a FRI. We collected patient and center related variables. Our outcomes were the trends of FRI, injury-related characteristics, and mortality. Cochran–Armitage trend analysis was performed.

Results

A total of 1012 FRI patients were identified. The majority of patients were teenagers (32%) and young adults (30%), and 88% were male. Greater than 80% of patients belonged to the low/low-middle socioeconomic class, and 18.5% completed college. The most common firearm utilized was the handgun (45%). The prevalence of FRI increased significantly (2014:15%; 2019:21%; P< 0.01). The most common injury intention was assault (75%). The median ISS was 17(9-25) with most injuries sustained to the extremities (23%). Also, 25% required emergent operative intervention. There is a significant rise in the number of severely injured patients (ISS≥25) (2014:12.1%, 2019:20%; P< 0.01), self-inflicted injuries (2014:10%, 2019:17%; P < 0.01), unintentional injuries (2014:6%, 2019:12%; P< 0.01), and mortality (2014:11%; 2019:19%; P< 0.01). A high prevalence of substance abuse was noted (73% alcohol, 64% drugs).

Conclusions

The prevalence of FRI at our center has been rising over the past decade with a shift towards more severe injuries and higher mortality rates. Addressing these alarming changes requires targeted interventions on multiple frontiers.

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