06. tbl. 100. árg. 2014

Visits to an emergency department due to head injuries

Komur á bráðamóttöku Landspítala vegna áverka á höfði

Introduction: Head injury is a common consequence of accidents and violence. It can result in permanent disability and is one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide. Our aim was to review all visits to Landspitali University Hospital (LUH) from head injuries, to study the incidence, nature and severity of head injuries.

Material and methods: A retrospective study on all visits of Reykjavik's inhabitants to LUH for head injuries in the years 2000-2005 and 2008-2009. Data were collected from patient records at LUH. One main diagnosis was used if head injury diagnoses were many. They were categorised into 5 groups; soft tissue injury, eye injury, injury to cranium, intracranial- and cranial nerve injury and multiple trauma.

Results: During the study period 35.031 patients presented with head injuries to LUH. Males were 67%. Mean age was 26 years (0-107). The highest rate was among infants and children aged 0-4 years (20.8%), followed by 5-9 years (11,5%) and 20-24 years (9.4%). The annual incidence decreased between the study periods from 4.2% to 3.3%. The annual incidence for admitted head injury patients decreased from 181/year/100.000 inhabitants to 110/year/100.000 inhabitants. Most often injuries were caused by accidents (80,5%) and violence (12.7%). Soft tissue injury was the most common injury (65%), followed by eye injury (15%) and intracranial- and cranial nerve injury (14%). The injuries that most frequently led to hospital admission were intracranial bleeding (90.1%), followed by skull fracture (79.2%).

Conclusion: Accidents and violence caused most head injuries and they are more common among men than women. Patients with intracranial haemorrhage were usually admitted. Incidence of hospital visits and admissions because of head injuries in Reykjavik has decreased over the last decade.

Figures and tables:

Fig 1. Age distribution of patients with head injuries in Reykjavík over eight years.

Fig 2. The annual incidence for patients with head injuries in Reykjavík over eight years.

Fig 3. The annual incidence for admitted patients with head injuries in Reykjavík over eight years.

Table I.  Types of head injuries among citizen of Reykjavík over eight years and hospital admissions.

Table II. Types of intracranial- and cranial nerve injuries among Reykjavík citizens over eight years and hostpital admittance.

Table III. Types of head injury causes according to the Nordic Medical Statistical Committee (Nomesko) for causes of accidents and violence.

Key words: Head injury, accident, violence, brain injury, intracranial bleeding.

Correspondence: Brynjólfur Mogensen, brynmog@landspitali.is

Eyrun Harpa Gisladottir1, Sigurbergur Karason2, Kristinn Sigvaldason2, Elfar Ulfarsson3, Brynjolfur Mogensen4

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