A National Analysis of Ophthalmic Features and Mortality in Abusive Head Trauma

Yesha S. Shah, Mustafa Iftikhar, Grant A. Justin, Joseph K. Canner, Fasika A. Woreta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: It is important to recognize presenting features and factors associated with mortality in abusive head trauma (AHT) owing to the severity of the diagnosis and the necessity for prompt action. Objective: To describe the prevalence and economic burden of AHT and identify factors associated with mortality. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective, cross-sectional study used the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database to identify all emergency department visits in the US for patients younger than 5 years with a primary diagnosis of abusive head trauma between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2018. This study was conducted in 2021. Main Outcomes and Measures: Prevalence, demographic characteristics, clinical characteristics, mortality, and economic burden associated with AHT. Weighted national estimates were calculated using sampling weights provided in the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database. Results: From 2006 to 2018, there were an estimated 12287 cases of emergency department visits in the US for patients younger than 5 years with a primary diagnosis of AHT. The estimated number of AHT cases decreased by 672 (95% CI, 403-940; P <.001) from 2006 to 2018. The incidence decreased by 6.7% each year (incidence rate ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.93-0.94; P <.001) between 2006 and 2018. During the course of a hospital visit, 646 patients (5.3%) died. The majority of patients with a diagnosis of AHT were younger than 1 year (n = 7046; 57.3%), were male (n = 7268; 59.2%) and had Medicaid insurance (n = 8585; 70.0%). After controlling for demographic characteristics, factors associated with increased mortality were age greater than 1 year (odds ratio [OR], 2.45; 95% CI, 1.50-3.99; P <.001), first or second income quartile (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.08-2.91; P =.02), midwestern United States (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.04-4.00; P =.04), level 1 trauma center (OR, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.07-6.75; P =.04), orbital fracture (OR, 15.38; 95% CI, 2.41-98.18; P =.004), cerebral edema (OR, 8.49; 95% CI, 5.57-12.93; P <.001), intracranial hemorrhage (OR, 4.27; 95% CI, 1.71-10.67; P =.002), hypoxic ischemic brain injury (OR, 4.16; 95% CI, 2.13-8.10; P <.001), skull fractures (OR, 3.20; 95% CI, 1.76-5.82; P <.001), subarachnoid hemorrhage (OR, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.22-4.83; P =.01), retinal hemorrhage (OR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.40-3.38; P <.001), and subdural hemorrhage (OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.05-3.98; P =.04). Conclusions and Relevance: This study's findings suggest that health care disparities may be present in the treatment of AHT. Recognizing factors suggested in this investigation to be associated with higher mortality, public health efforts should be targeted toward low-income areas and in the midwestern United States..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-234
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Ophthalmology
Volume140
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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