Epidemiology of 577 pediatric firearm fatalities: A 2-year review of the National Trauma Data Bank

Document Type



General Surgery


The purpose of this study was to delineate the epidemiology of pediatric firearm injuries, including ethno-demographic patterns with impact on years of potential life lost (YPLL). A 2-year review of the National Trauma Data Bank (2007 to 2008) was conducted. Firearm fatalities in records of patients younger than 18 years were identified. Data were analyzed by demographic and injury characteristics and YPLL was calculated by ethnicity. A total of 577 deaths were identified in the pediatric group. Blacks accounted for 49.7 per cent of the fatalities; Hispanics, 19.2 per cent; whites, 17.7 per cent, and other ethnicity, 13.4 per cent. Median Injury Severity Score was 25 with a median Glasgow Coma Scale score of 3. Traumatic brain injury was present in 84.2 per cent of the records. Assault accounted for 72.8 per cent, self-inflicted injury 12.7 per cent, and unintentional injuries were 8.2 per cent. Most firearm fatalities occurred at home (33.6%). By emergency department (ED) disposition, 29.3 per cent died in the ED, 32.9 per cent were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 30.0 per cent taken to the operating room. Blacks had a total of 17,446 YPLL, Hispanics 6,776 YPLL, and whites 6,718 YPLL. Pediatric firearm fatalities still remain an important public health concern. Inclusive gun control policies focused on primary prevention of accidental injuries may be more effective in mitigating its impact.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

Publication (Name of Journal)

The American surgeon