INTRODUCTION No national recording systems for knife injuries exist in the UK. Understanding the true size and nature of the problem of knife injuries is the first stage in reducing the burden of this injury. The aim of this study was to survey every knife injury seen in a single inner city emergency department (ED) over a one-year period.
METHODS A cross-sectional observational study was performed of all patients attending with a knife injury to the ED of a London major trauma centre in 2011. Demographic characteristics, patterns of injury, morbidity and mortality data were collected.
RESULTS A total of 938 knife injuries were identified from 127,191 attendances (0.77% of all visits) with a case fatality rate of 0.53%. A quarter (24%) of the major trauma team's caseload was for knife injuries. Overall, 44% of injuries were self-reported as assaults, 49% as accidents and 8% as deliberate self-harm. The highest age specific incident rate occurred in the 16-24 year age category (263/100,000). Multiple injuries were seen in 19% of cases, of which only 81% were recorded as assaults. The mean length of stay for those admitted to hospital was 3.04 days. Intrathoracic injury was seen in 26% of cases of chest trauma and 24% of abdominal injuries had a second additional chest injury.
CONCLUSIONS Violent intentional injuries are a significant contributory factor to the workload of the major trauma team at this centre. This paper contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of these injuries seen in the ED.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2014|