Purpose: To: (a) determine the magnitude, characteristics, and in-patient costs of injury among hospitalized urban adolescents in New Zealand (NZ); (b) identify regional priorities for injury prevention and investigative research; and (c) compare the study findings with published data from other industrialized countries.
Methods: The 1989-1993 files of the NZ Hospital Discharge Database were accessed to identify and analyze trauma-related admissions of adolescents residing in NZ's largest metropolitan region.
Results: The estimated 9569 hospitalizations for injury accounted for one-fourth of all adolescent admissions in the region, a mean annual hospitalization rate of 1292/100,000 population and a minimum annual cost of NZ $5.8 million for in-patient care. Males and indigenous Maori youth had comparatively higher rates of hospitalizations for most major causes of injury. Falls, pedal cyclist injury, cuts, and piercing injuries were leading causes of hospitalization for trauma in early adolescence. Admission rates for motorcylist and other motor vehicle occupant trauma and self-inflicted injury increased substantially among older adolescents. Sport and recreational activities comprised at least one-sixth of injury admissions.
Conclusions: The overall rates of injury resulting in hospitalization among Auckland adolescents were comparable to those reported from Australia and France, but higher than those from the United States, Canada, and Israel. By identifying priority issues and high-risk groups, this study provides a foundation for regional injury control initiatives. It also demonstrates the utility and limitations of E-coded hospital discharge registries in defining the burden of serious nonfatal trauma.