ED Visits for Teen Self-Inflicted Injuries Increases

A study in the July issue of Pediatrics, “EmergencyDepartment Visits for Self-Inflicted Injuries in Adolescent,” (published online June 15) examined 286,678 adolescent trauma patients, 3,664 of whom sustained a self-inflicted injury.

The study aimed to describe emergency department visits for self-inflicted injury in teens from 2009 to 2012, by tracking trends in mechanism of injury and identifying factors associated with increased risk of self-harm behaviors.

Cut/pierce injuries were the most common, while firearm injuries decreased. Females are more likely to experience cut/pierce injuries and higher emergency department visit rates than males. Males are at greater risk of dying of their injuries, likely due to their use of more lethal forms of injury, such as firearms. Teens with any comorbid condition, especially those with greater than two conditions, had greater risk for self-inflicted injury compared to teens with no comorbid conditions. The authors also found that risk of self-inflicted injury was lower in African American adolescents than in white teens. Teens with public or no health insurance are at increased risk of death from their injuries than those with private insurance.

The authors conclude that these findings identify potential subgroups of adolescents who would benefit from self-inflicted injury prevention efforts.