Hospital based emergency department visits attributed to child physical abuse in United States: predictors of in-hospital mortality.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVES: To describe nationally representative outcomes of physical abuse injuries in children necessitating Emergency Department (ED) visits in United States. The impact of various injuries on mortality is examined. We hypothesize that physical abuse resulting in intracranial injuries are associated with worse outcome. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), the largest all payer hospital based ED database, for the years 2008-2010. All ED visits and subsequent hospitalizations with a diagnosis of "Child physical abuse" (Battered baby or child syndrome) due to various injuries were identified using ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification) codes. In addition, we also examined the prevalence of sexual abuse in this cohort. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to examine the association between mortality and types of injuries after adjusting for a multitude of patient and hospital level factors. RESULTS: Of the 16897 ED visits that were attributed to child physical abuse, 5182 (30.7%) required hospitalization. Hospitalized children were younger than those released treated and released from the ED (1.9 years vs. 6.4 years). Male or female partner of the child's parent/guardian accounted for >45% of perpetrators. Common injuries in hospitalized children include- any fractures (63.5%), intracranial injuries (32.3%) and crushing/internal injuries (9.1%). Death occurred in 246 patients (13 in ED and 233 following hospitalization). Amongst the 16897 ED visits, 1.3% also had sexual abuse. Multivariable analyses revealed each 1 year increase in age was associated with a lower odds of mortality (OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.81-0.96, p < 0.0001). Females (OR = 2.39, 1.07-5.34, p = 0.03), those with intracranial injuries (OR = 65.24, 27.57-154.41, p<0.0001), or crushing/internal injury (OR = 4.98, 2.24-11.07, p<0.0001) had higher odds of mortality compared to their male counterparts. CONCLUSIONS: In this large cohort of physically abused children, younger age, females and intracranial or crushing/internal injuries were independent predictors of mortality. Identification of high risk cohorts in the ED may enable strengthening of existing screening programs and optimization of outcomes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Allareddy, V; Asad, R; Lee, MK; Nalliah, RP; Rampa, S; Speicher, DG; Rotta, AT; Allareddy, V

Published Date

  • 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 2

Start / End Page

  • e100110 -

PubMed ID

  • 24919088

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4053408

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0100110


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States