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Acad Emerg Med. 1997 Aug;4(8):772-5.

The urban epidemiology of recurrent injury: beyond age, race, and gender stereotypes.

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  • 1Department of Emergency, Wake Medical Center, Raleigh, NC, USA.



To profile all patients presenting to an urban ED with any injury, and to determine whether the rate of subsequent injury treated in the ED varied by demographic and E-code (external mechanism of injury) category. The hypothesis that young black males were disproportionately at risk for re-injury was addressed.


A cohort of consecutive patients presenting to an urban ED with any injury between January 1, 1991, and November 31, 1992, were followed prospectively for 1 year from their index visit dates. Any repeat ED visits due to injury were sought. The mean number of injury visits per year (the total number of ED injury visits for each patient divided by 1 year) was computed for the overall population and by race, age, gender, and E-code.


The sample consisted of 34,378 patients who made 44,813 visits to the ED for injury. Of these patients, 22% had a repeat injury in 1 year, with a cohort mean of 1.30 injury visits per year. This mean did not vary appreciably by race (black 1.33, white 1.27), age (1-17 yr, 1.21; 18-24 yr, 1.32; 25-64 yr, 1.34; > 65 yr, 1.23), gender (males 1.33, females 1.27), or E-code category. Having a prior injury visit in the preceding year was the best predictor of future injury (mean repeat visit rate = 2.08).


When examining patients presenting with any injury to an urban ED, the mean numbers of injury visits are remarkably similar across demographic and E-code categories. Although there are factors that place patients at risk for recurrent injury, those factors are not demographic-all patients presenting to an ED with injury should be considered at risk for re-injury.

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