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J Surg Res. 2013 Sep;184(1):556-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2012.12.047. Epub 2013 Jan 19.

Twenty years of pediatric gunshot wounds: an urban trauma center's experience.

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Department of Surgery, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33101, USA.



Pediatric gunshot wounds remain an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Recent experience in the urban pediatric population has not been extensively documented.


A retrospective review of the trauma registry identified all pediatric (age 0-16 y) gunshot wound injuries between October 1991 and August 2011. We evaluated demographic, injury location, disposition, and outcome data. We applied descriptive statistics and χ(2) with significance level set to P ≤ 0.05.


We treated 740 patients at our trauma center. Patients tended to be male (82%) and African American (72%), and most frequently were shot in the abdomen, back, or pelvic regions (26%). Patients with head or neck injuries experienced the highest mortality rate (35%), whereas the mortality rate overall was 12.7%. A total of 23% of patients were discharged directly, but 32% required an operation. We grouped data into five equal time periods, demonstrating that after decreasing through the 1990s, pediatric gunshot wounds presenting to our hospital are steadily increasing.


We identified certain demographic and temporal trends regarding pediatric gunshot wounds, and the overall number of injuries appears to be increasing.


Children; Firearm; Gunshot wounds; Pediatrics; Trauma

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