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Article
April 2003

Injuries to Children Who Had Preinjury Cognitive Impairment: A 10-Year Retrospective Review

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Dr Braden and Ms Swanson); Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Mental Retardation Inc, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Waltham (Dr Braden); and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass (Dr Di Scala).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(4):336-340. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.4.336
Abstract

Objective  To determine differences between hospitalized injured children who had preinjury cognitive impairments (IMPs) and children who had no preinjury cognitive conditions (NO).

Design  Comparative analysis, excluding fatalities, of patients with IMP (n = 371) with patients with NO (n = 58 745), aged from 0 to 19 years.

Main Outcome Measures  Demographics, injury characteristics, injury nature and severity, use of resources, disability, and disposition at discharge from acute care.

Data Source  Medical records of children injured between January 1, 1989, and December 31, 1998, submitted to the National Pediatric Trauma Registry, Boston, Mass.

Results  Compared with children with NO, children with IMPs were more likely to be boys (72.5% vs 64.3%), to be older (53.1% vs 40.0%, aged 10-19 years), to be victims of child abuse (5.9% vs 1.6%), and to be individuals with self-inflicted injuries (2.2% vs 0.1%). They were more likely to be injured as pedestrians (19.9% vs 13.8%), less likely to be injured in sport activities (2.7% vs 6.9%), and less likely to sustain a penetrating injury (3.8% vs 8.3%). They were more likely to sustain injuries to multiple body regions (57.4% vs 43.7%) and the head (62.0% vs 45.1%), and to be severely injured. They were more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (52.6% vs 25.2), and their mean length of stay was twice as long (9.9 vs 4.8 days). They were also more likely to develop impairments from the current injury (46.6% vs 41.0%) and more likely to be discharged to a rehabilitation facility (11.1% vs 2.3%). The IMPs became worse in 75 children.

Conclusions  Preinjury cognitive impairments in a pediatric population had a significant effect on the causes, nature, severity of injury, and outcomes. Targeted prevention programs should consider the characteristics of this population.

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