Factors influencing admission among children with traumatic brain injury

Author(s): McCarthy ML, Serpi T, Kufera JA, Demeter LA, Paidas C


Objectives:To describe the epidemiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among children in Maryland and to examine factors that influence hospital admission.

Methods:Statewide mortality, hospital discharge, and ambulatory care data were used to identify all TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths that occurred in 1998 to children aged 0-19 years according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's standard case definition and protocol. Inpatient admission was modeled as a function of patient, injury, and hospital characteristics.

Results:The overall incidence of pediatric TBI (i.e., ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths) in 1998 was 670/100,000. After controlling for injury severity and other factors, uninsured children were 40% less likely to be hospitalized (95% CI = 0.43 to 0.82) and children with Medicaid were 90% more likely to be hospitalized (95% CI = 1.42 to 2.54) than were those with private insurance. The presence of a major associated injury significantly influenced the likelihood of hospitalization, especially among children with a minor (OR = 8.8) to moderate (OR = 11.6) TBI. Children who presented to a trauma center hospital were significantly more likely to be hospitalized than children treated at a non-trauma center hospital, although this varied depending on income (OR = 1.8 for high versus low) and hospital volume (OR = 2.6 for a small hospital and OR = 29.0 for a large hospital).

Conclusions:After adjusting for TBI severity and the presence of associated injuries, significant differences in hospitalization rates may exist among different patient subgroups and hospitals for children who sustain TBIs.

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