Objective: To evaluate the incidence, types of injury, medical consequences, and mortality of patients with stab wounds in Sweden.
Design: Retrospective case study.
Setting: The Swedish National Hospital Discharge Register (SNHDR) and the Register of Causes of Death, Statistics Sweden (RCDSS) SUBJECTS: 1315 patients with stab wounds. All 1507 episodes were treated in Swedish hospitals from 1987-1994.
Main outcome measures: Incidence of stab wounds in Sweden, mortality, types of injuries and medical consequences.
Results: From 1987 to 1994, 1315 people were admitted to Swedish hospitals with stab wounds, which corresponds to 2.1 injuries/100,000 population/year. In all, 1507 episodes were treated in hospital. There were 1121 men (85%) and 194 women (15%), with a median age of 32 years (range 1-88). The annual incidence was relatively constant during this period. The total number of deaths was 45/1315 (3.4%). Among these, 13 (29%) had thoracic, 9 (21%) abdominal, 7 (16%) head/neck and 7 (15%) extremity injuries. Twenty percent of those admitted to hospital had to spend more than one week there.
Conclusions: The incidence of stab wounds was low and the annual incidence stable. Young men in urban areas were the commonest victims. Injuries of the trunk were commonest, followed by injuries to the head and neck and limbs, 80% of the patients were discharged from hospital within a week, and 3% of those treated in hospital for stab wounds died.