Factors Associated With Repeat Emergency Department Visits in a State-wide Cohort of Pediatric Patients With Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2022 Feb 1;38(2):e683-e689. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000002368.


Objective: To describe demographic, injury, and clinical characteristics of pediatric patients treated in the ED for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), and to evaluate characteristics associated with mTBI-related return emergency department (ED) visit within 1 month of initial presentation.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study from April 1, 2012, to September 30, 2017, of children 19 years or younger presenting to any Maryland ED for mTBI identified in the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission database using ICD-9/10 codes. Demographic, injury, and clinical characteristics of individuals were collected. The primary outcome was mTBI-related return ED visit within 4 weeks. Multiple logistic regression tested the associated of individual demographic, injury, and clinical characteristics with mTBI-related return ED visit.

Results: There were 25,582 individuals who had an ED visit for mTBI, of which 717 (2.8%) returned to the ED within 4 weeks and 468 (1.8%) within 1 week with a mTBI-related diagnosis. In multivariable logistic regression analyses, public insurance (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21-1.72) and female sex (aOR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.15-1.56) were associated with increased odds of return to the ED within 4 weeks. Age younger than 2 years (aOR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.21-0.72) was associated with decreased odds of return visit. There was a trend toward decreased odds of return patients receiving computed tomography head imaging (aOR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74-1.01).

Conclusions: Although return to the ED for mTBI-related complaints is uncommon, girls, older children, and publicly insured individuals may be at increased risk. Future targeted study may identify areas to improve access to appropriate longitudinal care and justify ED programs to better coordinate follow-up for mTBI.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Concussion* / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion* / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion* / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies