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Self-inflicted injury is commonly seen in emergency departments (EDs). It may be a precursor to death by suicide. The objective of this study was to examine the epidemiology of self-inflicted injury presentations to EDs in the province of Alberta.
Self-inflicted injury records for the 3 fiscal years 1998/99 to 2000/01 were accessed from the Ambulatory Care Classification System, a database that captures all ED encounters in the province of Alberta. Available data for each case included demographic details, location and time of visit, diagnoses and procedures.
There were 22 396 self-inflicted injury presentations to Alberta EDs during the study period. Self-inflicted injury rates were higher in females, younger patients, those on social services and those with Aboriginal treaty status. There were higher rates of return visits in the year following the self-inflicted injury than in other patient groups. Data showed regional variation. Trends could be seen in the timing of self-inflicted injury presentations by hour of day, day of week, and month of year.
Self-inflicted injury is common, with particularly high rates demonstrated among marginalized populations. This study provides comprehensive data on those who present with self-inflicted injuries, and can be used to guide further treatment, research and evaluation for this population.
To describe the incidence and pattern of traumatic spinal cord injury and cauda equina injury (SCI) in a geographically defined region of Canada.
The study period was April 1, 1997 to March 31, 2000. Data were gathered from three provincial sources: administrative data from the Alberta Ministry of Health and Wellness, records from the Alberta Trauma Registry, and death certificates from the Office of the Medical Examiner.
From all three data sources, 450 cases of SCI were identified. Of these, 71 (15.8%) died prior to hospitalization. The annual incidence rate was 52.5/million population (95% CI: 47.7, 57.4). For those who survived to hospital admission, the incidence rate was 44.3/million/year (95% CI: 39.8, 48.7). The incidence rates for males were consistently higher than for females for all age groups. Motor vehicle collisions accounted for 56.4% of injuries, followed by falls (19.1%). The highest incidence of motor vehicle-related SCI occurred to those between 15 and 29 years (60/million/year). Fall-related injuries primarily occurred to those older than 60 years (45/million/year). Rural residents were 2.5 times as likely to be injured as urban residents.
Prevention strategies for SCI should target males of all ages, adolescents and young adults of both sexes, rural residents, motor vehicle collisions, and fall prevention for those older than 60 years.
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