ED Utilization Trends in Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injury

Division of Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 09/2013; 132(4). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-1704
Source: PubMed


Emergency department (ED) visits for sports-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have risen. This study evaluated how the number and severity of admissions have changed as ED visits for sports-related TBIs have increased.

A retrospective study of children aged 0 to 19 years at a level 1 trauma center was performed. Patients from 2002 to 2011 with a primary or secondary diagnosis of TBI were identified from the hospital's inpatient and outpatient trauma registries. Frequencies were used to characterize the population, χ(2) analysis was performed to determine differences between groups, and regression analysis looked at relationship between year and injury severity score or length of stay.

Sport was responsible for injury in 3878 (15.4%) cases during the study period; 3506 (90.4%) were discharged from the hospital, and 372 (9.6%) were admitted. Seventy-three percent were male patients and 78% Caucasian; mean age was 13 ± 3.5 years. ED visits for sports-related TBIs increased 92% over the study period, yet there was no significant change (χ(2) = 9.8, df = 9, P = .37) in the percentage of children admitted. Mean injury severity score for those admitted decreased from 7.8 to 4.8 (β = -0.46; P = .006); length of stay trended downward (β = -0.05; P = .05).

The percentage of children being admitted from the ED with sports-related TBI has not changed over the past 10 years. The severity of admitted sports-related TBI is decreasing. Additional research is needed to correlate these trends with other TBI mechanisms.

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    ABSTRACT: Childhood sports-related head trauma is common, frequently leading to emergency department (ED) visits. We describe the spectrum of these injuries and trends in computed tomography (CT) use in the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network. This was a secondary analysis of a large prospective cohort of children with head trauma in 25 Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network EDs between 2004 and 2006. We described and compared children 5 to 18 years old by CT rate, traumatic brain injury (TBI) on CT, and clinically important TBI (ciTBI). We used multi-variable logistic regression to compare CT rates, adjusting for clinical severity. Outcomes included frequency of CT, TBIs on CT, and ciTBIs (defined by [a] death, [b] neurosurgery, [c] intubation >24 hours, or [d] hospitalization for ≥2 nights). A total of 3289 (14%) of 23082 children had sports-related head trauma. Two percent had Glasgow Coma Scale scores less than 14. 53% received ED CTs, 4% had TBIs on CT, and 1% had ciTBIs. Equestrians had increased adjusted odds (1.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-3.0]) of CTs; the rate of TBI on CT was 4% (95% CI, 3%-5%). Compared with team sports, snow (adjusted odds ratio, 4.1; 95% CI 1.5-11.4) and nonmotorized wheeled (adjusted odds ratio, 12.8; 95% CI, 5.5-32.4) sports had increased adjusted odds of ciTBIs. Children with sports-related head trauma commonly undergo CT. Only 4% of those imaged had TBIs on CT. Clinically important TBIs occurred in 1%, with significant variation by sport. There is an opportunity for injury prevention efforts in high-risk sports and opportunities to reduce CT use in general by use of evidence-based prediction rules. What is known about this subject: Pediatric sports-related head injuries are a common and increasingly frequent ED presentation, as is the use of CT in their evaluation. Little is known about TBIs resulting from different types of sports activities in children. What this study adds to existing knowledge: This study broadens the understanding of the epidemiology of Pediatric TBIs resulting from different sports activities through a prospective assessment of frequency and severity of ciTBIs and ED CT use in a large cohort of head-injured children in a network of pediatric EDs. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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