Injury surveillance using hospital discharge abstracts coded by external cause of injury (E code)

J Trauma. 1990 Apr;30(4):470-3.


Current knowledge of the patterns of injury in the United States derive principally from mortality statistics that constitute less than 0.1% of all injuries reaching medical attention. There presently exists no national system for the surveillance of nonfatal injuries. To illustrate the usefulness and feasibility of conducting injury surveillance using E-coded hospital discharge data, we examined the surveillance data from the Massachusetts Statewide Childhood Injury Prevention Program. By using E-coded hospital discharge data, we increased the number of cases available for analysis by 40-fold over deaths, and we were able to describe the epidemiologic characteristics of the important causes of nonfatal childhood injuries. We therefore propose the development of a national injury surveillance system based on the Uniform Hospital Discharge Data Set coded by both the nature of the injury (N Code) and external cause (E Code).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Patient Discharge
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*