Background: Recidivism is a well-known problem in adult trauma patients. Trauma recidivists are a population that warrants further intervention to prevent future trauma. Among pediatric patients, the recidivism rate, demographics, mechanism, and mortality are unknown. We hypothesized that specific groups of pediatric trauma recidivists could be identified for targeted prevention efforts. Methods: All pediatric trauma patients admitted to a level 1 pediatric trauma center in an urban county hospital between 1991 and 2010 were reviewed. Age, sex, Glasgow Coma Scale, injury location, injury cause, disposition, length of stay, and mortality were collected and compared between nonrecidivist and recidivist cohorts. Results: The recidivism rate among patients aged 0-19 y was 1.5% compared with 0.9% in those aged 0-16 y. Recidivists were more likely males (P < 0.001) suffering from penetrating injuries. They were less frequently injured in motor vehicle collisions. Two of every three recidivist gunshot wound (GSW) victims were injured by a GSW on their prior admission. Conclusions: The pediatric recidivism rate in our population is small. Nevertheless, recidivists are more than twice as likely to be injured by penetrating trauma, especially GSWs. Targeted screening and counseling in this demographic may be helpful in reducing youth trauma recidivism.
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