Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects 25-35 % of women and men in Western countries. Despite the high prevalence of IPV among trauma patients, very little is known about the associated injuries. Most previous studies excluded male victims and IPV is often limited to violence against women. Few reports on IPV among elderly patients exist.
Methods: We examined self-reports of IPV among patients at two major trauma centers of the Helsinki Central Hospital in Finland. Based on previous studies, we hypothesized that we would find the most severe injuries among young and middle-aged women.
Results: We identified 29 patients with a total of 105 injuries; patients typically presented with multiple injuries. Half of all patients required hospitalization or surgery. Contrary to previous studies, 17 % of our cohort were male, while 17 % of patients were 65 years or older. We found that 40 % of male victims presented with a New Injury Severity Score (NISS) over 15, indicating severe trauma. Two elderly patients presented with an NISS of 27, the highest in our study.
Conclusions: IPV leads to severe injury across all age groups among both male and female patients. The injury mechanism should be clearly defined for all trauma patients, keeping IPV in mind as a potential cause despite patient age or gender.
Keywords: Age; Emergency room; Gender; Injury; Intimate partner violence; New Injury Severity Score.