Injury recidivism in a rural ED

Ann Emerg Med. 1997 Aug;30(2):176-80. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(97)70139-2.


Study objective: To determine the degree of injury recidivism in our ED population and to identify indicators of injury recidivism.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review in a university-affiliated department of emergency medicine. The study participants were patients who presented for treatment of an injury. An injury recidivist was defined as a patient who presented for treatment of two or more unique injuries during the 1-year study period. The injured population was divided into three categories: (1) those with a single injury visit, (2) those with two to three injury visits, and (3) those with four or more injury visits. Demographics, mechanism of injury, and outcome data were collected and comparative analyses performed.

Results: Of the 37,360 ED patient visits, 12,075 were injury related. Of the injury visit load, 2,838 of the 12,075 (24%) were injury recidivists. Of injured patients, 1,239 of 10,476 (12%) were recidivists. The sex distribution was similar among the groups, but the mean age decreased as the degree of recidivism increased. The degree of recidivism was higher for patients with Medicaid and for those who were uninsured. Lower mean medical charges per visit were found with increasing degree of recidivism, but the average total charges per patient increased with increasing degree of recidivism. Increasing degree of recidivism was associated with decreasing incidence of transportation-related injury but increased incidence of overexertion or intentional injuries.

Conclusion: A small group of patients account for a significant proportion of ED injury visits. In comparison with injury patients seen once during the year, recidivists represent a younger population of lower socioeconomic status, and they are at increased risk of intentional injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Rural / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology