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J Trauma. 2005 Jan;58(1):162-7.

Underestimating injury mortality using statewide databases.

Author information

1
Intermountain Injury Control Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA. clay.mann@hsc.utah.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study examines the potential for misclassifying injury-related deaths reported in Vital Statistics and assesses the rate of postdischarge death among injured patients released from hospital, emergency department (ED), and emergency medical services (EMS) care.

METHODS:

Statewide death certificate, inpatient, ED, and EMS databases for 1996 through 1997 were probabilistically linked and information in each database compared.

RESULTS:

One thousand two hundred ninety-four injured inpatients or ED patients were matched with a death certificate record that listed an injury (56.3%) or illness (43.7%) as the primary cause of death. Injured decedents with an illness-coded cause of death were older (p < 0.001), with causes of death indicative of chronic medical conditions. Few deaths occurred within 30 days of inpatient discharge (6%); however, 38% and 9% of deaths in ED and EMS databases occurred after discharge from health care, respectively. Many deaths among EMS and ED patients occur in subsequent phases of care.

CONCLUSION:

Estimates of injury mortality substantially increase when using multiple independent databases.

PMID:
15674167
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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