Age-related trends in injury and injury severity presenting to emergency departments in New South Wales Australia: Implications for major injury surveillance and trauma systems

Dinh, Michael M., Russell, Saartje Berendsen, Bein, Kendall J., Vallmuur, Kirsten, Muscatello, David, Chalkley, Dane, & Ivers, Rebecca (2017) Age-related trends in injury and injury severity presenting to emergency departments in New South Wales Australia: Implications for major injury surveillance and trauma systems. Injury, 48(1), pp. 171-176.

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  • To describe population based trends and clinical characteristics of injury related presentations to Emergency Departments (EDs).

Design and setting

  • A retrospective, descriptive analysis of de-identified linked ED data across New South Wales, Australia over five calendar years, from 2010 to 2014.


  • Patients were included in this analysis if they presented to an Emergency Department and had an injury related diagnosis. Injury severity was categorised into critical (triage category 1–2 and admitted to ICU or operating theatre, or died in ED), serious (admitted as an in-patient, excluding above critical injuries) and minor injuries (discharged from ED).

Main outcome measures

  • The outcomes of interest were rates of injury related presentations to EDs by age groups and injury severity.


  • A total of 2.09 million injury related ED presentations were analysed. Minor injuries comprised 85.0%, and 14.1% and 1.0% were serious and critical injuries respectively. There was a 15.8% per annum increase in the rate of critical injuries per 1000 population in those 80 years and over, with the most common diagnosis being head injuries. Around 40% of those with critical injuries presented directly to a major trauma centre.


  • Critical injuries in the elderly have risen dramatically in recent years. A minority of critical injuries present directly to major trauma centres. Trauma service provision models need revision to ensure appropriate patient care. Injury surveillance is needed to understand the external causes of injury presenting to hospital.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 98360
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: injury, emergency department, trauma
DOI: 10.1016/j.injury.2016.08.005
ISSN: 0020-1383
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Information Systems (incl. Surveillance) (111711)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
Deposited On: 25 Aug 2016 04:52
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2017 10:01

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