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Katherine A. Kelly, Pious D. Patel, Sanjana Salwi, Harold N. Lovvorn III, and Robert Naftel

OBJECTIVE

Low socioeconomic status is a determinant of pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) incidence and severity. In this study, the authors used National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) data to evaluate socioeconomic and health disparities among children hospitalized after TBI.

METHODS

This retrospective study identified pediatric patients aged 0 to 19 years with ICD-9 codes for TBI in the NIS database from 2012 to 2015. Socioeconomic variables included race, sex, age, census region, and median income of the patient residential zip code. Outcomes included mechanism of injury, hospital length of stay (LOS), cost, disposition at discharge, death, and inpatient complications. Multivariate linear regressions in log scale were built for LOS and cost. Logistic regressions were built for death, disposition, and inpatient complications.

RESULTS

African American, Hispanic, and Native American patients experienced longer LOSs (β 0.06, p < 0.001; β 0.03, p = 0.03; β 0.13, p = 0.02, respectively) and increased inpatient costs (β 0.13, p < 0.001; β 0.09, p < 0.001; β 0.14, p = 0.03, respectively). Females showed increased rates of medical complications (OR 1.57, p < 0.001), LOS (β 0.025, p = 0.02), and inpatient costs (p = 0.04). Children aged 15 to 19 years were less likely to be discharged home (OR 3.99, p < 0.001), had increased mortality (OR 1.32, p = 0.03) and medical complications (OR 1.84, p < 0.001), and generated increased costs (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The study results have demonstrated that racial minorities, females, older children, and children in lower socioeconomic groups were at increased risk of poor outcomes following TBI, including increased LOS, medical complications, mortality, inpatient costs, and worse hospital disposition. Public education and targeted funding for these groups will ensure that all children have equal opportunity for optimal clinical outcomes following TBI.

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Jackson H. Allen, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Kelly L. Vittetoe, Amber Greeno, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Purnima Unni, Harold N. Lovvorn III, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) and dirt bike crashes frequently result in traumatic brain injury. The authors performed a retrospective study to evaluate the role of helmets in the neurosurgical outcomes of pediatric patients involved in ATV and dirt bike crashes who were treated at their institution during the last decade.

METHODS

The authors analyzed data on all pediatric patients involved in ATV or dirt bike crashes who were evaluated at a single regional level I pediatric trauma center between 2010 and 2019. Patients were excluded if the crash occurred in a competition (n = 70) or if helmet status could not be determined (n = 18). Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze the association of helmet status with the primary outcomes of 1) neurosurgical consultation, 2) intracranial injury (including skull fracture), and 3) moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (MSTBI) and to control for literature-based, potentially confounding variables.

RESULTS

In total, 680 patients were included (230 [34%] helmeted patients and 450 [66%] unhelmeted patients). Helmeted patients were more frequently male (81% vs 66%). Drivers were more frequently helmeted (44.3%) than passengers (10.5%, p < 0.001). Head imaging was performed to evaluate 70.9% of unhelmeted patients and 48.3% of helmeted patients (p < 0.001). MSTBI (8.0% vs 1.7%, p = 0.001) and neurosurgical consultation (26.2% vs 9.1%, p < 0.001) were more frequent among unhelmeted patients. Neurosurgical injuries, including intracranial hemorrhage (16% vs 4%, p < 0.001) and skull fracture (18% vs 4%, p < 0.001), were more common in unhelmeted patients. Neurosurgical procedures were required by 2.7% of unhelmeted patients. One helmeted patient (0.4%) required placement of an intracranial pressure monitor, and no other helmeted patients required neurosurgical procedures. After adjustment for age, sex, driver status, vehicle type, and injury mechanism, helmet use significantly reduced the odds of neurosurgical consultation (OR 0.250, 95% CI 0.140–0.447, p < 0.001), intracranial injury (OR 0.172, 95% CI 0.087–0.337, p < 0.001), and MSTBI (OR 0.244, 95% CI 0.079–0.758, p = 0.015). The unadjusted absolute risk reduction provided by helmet use equated to a number-needed-to-helmet of 6 riders to prevent 1 neurosurgical consultation, 4 riders to prevent 1 intracranial injury, and 16 riders to prevent 1 MSTBI.

CONCLUSIONS

Helmet use remains problematically low among young ATV and dirt bike riders, especially passengers. Expanding helmet use among these children could significantly reduce the rates of intracranial injury and MSTBI, as well as the subsequent need for neurosurgical procedures. Promoting helmet use among recreational ATV and dirt bike riders must remain a priority for neurosurgeons, public health officials, and injury prevention professionals.