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Injury. 2009 Jan;40(1):84-6. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2008.08.045. Epub 2008 Dec 30.

The injury profile after the 2008 earthquakes in China.

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Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Department of Psychiatry, USUHS, Bethesda, MD 20814, United States.


The 8.0 magnitude earthquake that struck China on May 12, 2008, was the deadliest earthquake in 30 years. Most hospitals were destroyed and limited facilities were available for medical service in the earthquake regions. Over the first 5 days, three general hospitals and one children's hospital admitted 1770 injured individuals.


We retrospectively collected data on 1770 injured subjects in three general hospitals (n=1723) and one children's hospital (n=47) in the quake-area during the first 5 days after the event. The diagnosis for the injuries was based on the final hospital diagnosis made by the physicians and classified by two-independent researchers using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems ICD-10 (WHO ICD-10 Code.1993). To ensure the accuracy of the information, any questionable data was reviewed by phone with hospital staff.


In three general hospitals, 848 patients (48%) were male and 922 (52%) were female. Nine percent (n=84) of females and 8.8% (n=75) of males were over the age of 75. Four (0.4%) females and 5 (0.5%) males were less than 1-year old. The most common injuries were the injuries of the knee, lower leg, ankle and foot (36%), followed by head injuries (18%). In the children's hospital, 31 (65%) of the patients were males and 16 (35%) were females. 40% of the subjects were 10-14, while 21% were less than 1-year old. The most frequently seen injuries were also of the knee, lower leg, ankle or foot (19%), and of the abdomen, lower back, lumbar spine and pelvis, and hip and thigh (15%).


We gathered information from resources in Chinese, which at the time contained more records on this event than any documents in English. The age of the patients ranged from 7 days to 84 years old. Subjects over age 75 and children between 10 and 14 were the largest population in their respective hospitals, indicating that these groups required the greatest medical resources. The injury profile presented here serves as a reference not only for present injury intervention but also for future earthquake disaster response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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