Objectives: To estimate the incidence and demographics of concussions in children coming to emergency departments (EDs) in the United States and describe the rates of neuroimaging and follow-up instructions in these patients.
Study design: This is a cross-sectional study of children 0 to 19 years old diagnosed with concussion from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey collects data on approximately 25,000 visits annually to 600 randomly selected hospital emergency and outpatient departments. We examined visits to United States emergency departments between 2002 and 2006. Simple descriptive statistics were used.
Results: Of the 50,835 pediatric visits in the 5-year sample, 230 observations, representing 144,000 visits annually, were for concussions. Sixty-nine percent of concussion visits were by males. Thirty percent were sports-related. Sixty-nine percent of patients diagnosed with a concussion had head imaging. Twenty-eight percent of patients were discharged without specific instructions to follow-up with an outpatient provider for further treatment.
Conclusions: Approximately 144,000 pediatric patients present to emergency departments each year with a concussion. Most of these patients undergo computed tomography of the head, and nearly one-third are discharged without specific instructions to follow-up with an outpatient provider for further treatment.
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