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Prevalence and hospital charges from firearm injuries treated in US emergency departments from 2006 to 2016

NCJ Number
Date Published
11 pages

Since age- and intent-related differences in the burden and costs of firearm injury treated in emergency departments are not well-documented, we performed a serial cross-sectional study of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Program Nationwide Emergency Department Survey from 2006 to 2016.



We used International Classification of Diseases diagnoses codes revisions 9 and 10 to identify firearm injuries. We calculated survey-weighted counts, proportions, means, and rates and confidence intervals of national, age-specific (0–4, 5–9, 10–14, 15–17, 18–44, 45–64, 65–84, >84) and intent-specific (assault, unintentional, suicide, undetermined) emergency department discharges for firearm injuries. We used survey-weighted regression to assess temporal trends. There was a total of 868,483 (25.5 per 100,000) emergency department visits for firearm injuries from 2006 to 2016, and 7.8% died in the emergency department. Overall, firearm injury rates remained steady (P = .78). The largest burden was among those 25 to 44 years of age, but their rates remained stable (10.8 per 100,000). Overall assault injuries declined from 39.7% to 36.4%, and overall unintentional injuries increased from 46.4% to 54.7%. Legal-intervention injuries declined from 0.6 to 0.3 per 100,000. The charges (total $4,059,070,364, $369,006,396/year) increased across time in age and intent groups. The mean predicted charges increased from $1,922 to $3,348 in those alive versus $3,741 to $6,515 among those who died. Interventions and programs to manage the consequences of firearm injury in persons who live with ongoing morbidity and economic burden are warranted. (Publisher Abstract)


Date Published: January 1, 2021