June 1992

Recidivism in an Urban Trauma Center

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, University of California—Davis, East Bay, Oakland.

Arch Surg. 1992;127(6):668-670. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1992.01420060034006

• The incidence of recurrent injury requiring evaluation and treatment at an urban trauma center was assessed by examination of data from the registry of an urban trauma unit. A subgroup of 342 recidivists sustained 711 traumatic injuries. This represented 6.4% of trauma service activations or consultations. The rates of recurrence in random groups of 100 patients with trauma and 50 patients with traumatic deaths were 5% and 12%, respectively. These rates of recurrent injury are lower than those of several previous reports. Comparison of patients with recurrent episodes of trauma with patients who experience a single episode of trauma revealed significant differences in age, sex distribution, mechanism of injury, and fatal outcomes. Recidivists averaged only 7.9 months between episodes of injury. In patients with recurrent trauma with fatal outcomes, the mean interval between initial injury and death was 18.8 months. Early identification of patients at high risk for recurrence may provide an opportunity for behavior modification.

(Arch Surg. 1992;127:668-670)