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Logo of injprevInjury PreventionCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
Inj Prev. Jun 2002; 8(2): 91–96.
PMCID: PMC1730858

An introduction to the Barell body region by nature of injury diagnosis matrix


Aim: To provide a standard format for reports from trauma registries, hospital discharge data systems, emergency department data systems, or other sources of non-fatal injury data. This tool could also be used to characterize the patterns of injury using a manageable number of clinically meaningful diagnostic categories and to serve as a standard for casemix comparison across time and place.

Concept: The matrix displays 12 nature of injury columns and 36 body region rows placing each ICD-9-CM code in the range from 800 to 995 in a unique cell location in the matrix. Each cell includes the codes associated with a given injury. The matrix rows and columns can easily be collapsed to get broader groupings or expanded if more specific sites are required. The current matrix offers three standard levels of detail through predefined collapsing of body regions from 36 rows to nine rows to five rows.

Matrix development: This paper presents stages in the development and the major concepts and properties of the matrix, using data from the Israeli national trauma registry, and from the US National Hospital Discharge Survey. The matrix introduces new ideas such as the separation of traumatic brain injury (TBI), into three types. Injuries to the eye have been separated from other facial injuries. Other head injuries such as open wounds and burns were categorized separately. Injuries to the spinal cord and spinal column were also separated as are the abdomen and pelvis. Extremities have been divided into upper and lower with a further subdivision into more specific regions. Hip fractures were separated from other lower extremity fractures.

Forthcoming developments: The matrix will be used for the development of standard methods for the analysis of multiple injuries and the creation of patient injury profiles. To meet the growing use of ICD-10 and to be applicable to a wider range of countries, the matrix will be translated to ICD-10 and eventually to ICD-10-CM.

Conclusion: The Barell injury diagnosis matrix has the potential to serve as a basic tool in epidemiological and clinical analyses of injury data.

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Articles from Injury Prevention are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


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