Deaths: injuries, 2002

Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2006 Jan 31;54(10):1-124.


Objectives: This report presents injury mortality data for 2002 using the external-cause-of-injury mortality matrix for the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). The external cause matrix is a detailed and comprehensive framework for tabulating and presenting injury deaths by mechanism and intent of death. Data are presented by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, and State. In addition, trend data are shown for 1999-2002 by age, sex, and mechanism and intent of injury. This report also introduces the injury mortality diagnosis matrix. This latter is another framework that categorizes the nearly 1,200 injury diagnosis codes from ICD-10's chapter 19 according to body region and nature of the injury diagnosis information captured in the multiple-cause-of-death fields of the national mortality file. This report supplements the annual report of final mortality statistics.

Methods: Data in this report are based on information from all death certificates filed in the 50 States and the District of Columbia in 2002. Causes of death and nature of injury are processed and coded in accordance with the ICD-10.

Results: In 2002, 161,269 resident deaths occurred as the result of injuries. Of these injury deaths, 66.2 percent were classified as unintentional, 19.6 percent were suicides, 10.9 percent were homicides, 3.0 percent were of undetermined intent, and 0.3 percent involved legal intervention or operations of war. The five leading mechanisms of injury death were motor vehicle traffic, firearm, poisoning, falls, and suffocation, accounting for 81 percent of all injury deaths. The rate of poisoning deaths increased by 17.9 percent between 2001 and 2002, but the reader is advised to interpret these numbers cautiously as a portion of this increase is due to stricter procedures concerning data processing that were implemented in 2002. Thirty percent of injuries resulting in death were to the head and neck region with the vast majority of these classified as traumatic brain injury. Injuries involving the whole body system accounted for 28 percent of all injuries mentioned (17 percent were poisoning and 7 percent were other effects of external causes, such as submersion or asphyxiation).

Conclusions: Injury mortality data presented in this report using the external cause-of-injury mortality matrix for ICD-10 provide detail on the mechanism of death needed for research and other activities related to injury prevention. This report highlights the importance of multiple causes-of-death data when analyzing injury mortality--special attention is given to the issue of accuracy and completeness of information as it pertains to these data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is involved in several ongoing projects related to the study of injury and injury mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Death Certificates
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vital Statistics*
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*