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Am J Emerg Med. 2011 Jan;29(1):11-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2009.07.003. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Snow shovel-related injuries and medical emergencies treated in US EDs, 1990 to 2006.

Author information

1
Center for Injury Research and Policy, Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Injuries and medical emergencies associated with snow shovel use are common in the United States.

METHODS:

This is a retrospective analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. This study analyzes the epidemiologic features of snow shovel-related injuries and medical emergencies treated in US emergency departments (EDs) from 1990 to 2006.

RESULTS:

An estimated 195 100 individuals (95% confidence interval, 140 400-249 800) were treated in US EDs for snow shovel-related incidents during the 17-year study period, averaging 11 500 individuals annually (SD, 5300). The average annual rate of snow shovel-related injuries and medical emergencies was 4.15 per 100 000 population. Approximately two thirds (67.5%) of these incidents occurred among males. Children younger than 18 years comprised 15.3% of the cases, whereas older adults (55 years and older) accounted for 21.8%. The most common diagnosis was soft tissue injury (54.7%). Injuries to the lower back accounted for 34.3% of the cases. The most common mechanism of injury/nature of medical emergency was acute musculoskeletal exertion (53.9%) followed by slips and falls (20.0%) and being struck by a snow shovel (15.0%). Cardiac-related ED visits accounted for 6.7% of the cases, including all of the 1647 deaths in the study. Patients required hospitalization in 5.8% of the cases. Most snow shovel-related incidents (95.6%) occurred in and around the home.

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first study to comprehensively examine snow shovel-related injuries and medical emergencies in the United States using a nationally representative sample. There are an estimated 11 500 snow shovel-related injuries and medical emergencies treated annually in US EDs.

PMID:
20825768
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajem.2009.07.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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