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Revisits, readmissions, and outcomes for pediatric traumatic brain injury in California, 2005-2014.


Long-term outcomes related to emergency department revisit, hospital readmission, and all-cause mortality, have not been well characterized across the spectrum of pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). We evaluated emergency department visit outcomes up to 1 year after pediatric TBI, in comparison to a referent group of trauma patients without TBI. We performed a longitudinal, retrospective study of all pediatric trauma patients who presented to emergency departments and hospitals in California from 2005 to 2014. We compared emergency department visits, dispositions, revisits, readmissions, and mortality in pediatric trauma patients with a TBI diagnosis to those without TBI (Other Trauma patients). We identified 208,222 pediatric patients with an index diagnosis of TBI and 1,314,064 patients with an index diagnosis of Other Trauma. Population growth adjusted TBI visits increased by 5.6% while those for Other Trauma decreased by 40.7%. The majority of patients were discharged from the emergency department on their first visit (93.2% for traumatic brain injury vs. 96.5% for Other Trauma). A greater proportion of TBI patients revisited the emergency department (33.4% vs. 3.0%) or were readmitted to the hospital (0.9% vs. 0.04%) at least once within a year of discharge. The health burden within a year after a pediatric TBI visit is considerable and is greater than that of non-TBI trauma. These data suggest that outpatient strategies to monitor for short-term and longer-term sequelae after pediatric TBI are needed to improve patient outcomes, lessen the burden on families, and more appropriately allocate resources in the healthcare system.

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