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Epidemiology of traumatic brain injury in children receiving intensive care in the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Rob ForsythORCiD


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Aims: To describe the epidemiology of children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) admitted to paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in the UK. Methods: Prospective collection of clinical and demographic information from paediatric and adult intensive care units in the UK and Eire between February 2001 and August 2003. Results: The UK prevalence rate for children ( 0-14 years) admitted to intensive care with TBI between February 2001 and August 2003 was 5.6 per 100 000 population per year ( 95% Poisson exact confidence intervals 5.17 to 6.05). Children admitted to PICUs with TBI were more deprived than the population as a whole ( mean Townsend score for TBI admissions 1.19 v 0). The commonest mechanism of injury was a pedestrian accident ( 36%), most often occurring in children over 10. There was a significant summer peak in admissions in children under 10 years. Time of injury peaked in the late afternoon and early evening, a pattern that remained constant across the days of the week. Injuries involving motor vehicles have the highest mortality rates ( 23% of vehicle occupants, 12% of pedestrians) compared with cyclists (8%) and falls (3%). In two thirds of admissions (65%) TBI was an isolated injury. Conclusions: TBI in children requiring intensive care is more common in those from poorer backgrounds who have been involved in accidents as pedestrians. The summer peak in injury occurrence for 0-10 year olds and late afternoon timing give clear targets for community based injury prevention.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Parslow RC, Morris KP, Tasker RC, Forsyth RJ, Hawley CA, UK Paediat Traumat Brain Injury St, Paediat Intens Care Soc Study Grp

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Archives of Disease in Childhood

Year: 2005

Volume: 90

Issue: 11

Pages: 1182-1187

ISSN (print): 0003-9888

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2044

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/adc.2005.072405


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