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Motorcycle Crash-Related Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations for Traumatic Brain Injury in North Carolina

Harmon, Katherine J. MPH; Marshall, Stephen W. PhD; Proescholdbell, Scott K. MPH; Naumann, Rebecca B. MSPH; Waller, Anna E. ScD

Section Editor(s): Bell, Jeneita M. MD, MPH; Taylor, Christopher A. PhD; Breiding, Matthew J. PhD

Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: May/June 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 175–184
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000096
Original Articles
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Objective: To examine statewide emergency department (ED) visit data for motorcycle crash morbidity and healthcare utilization due to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and non-TBIs.

Setting: North Carolina ED data (2010-2012) and hospital discharge data (2009-2011).

Population: Statewide ED visits and hospitalizations due to injuries from traffic-related motorcycle crashes stratified by TBI status.

Design: Descriptive study.

Main Measures: Descriptive statistics include age, sex, mode of transport, disposition, expected source of payment, hospital length of stay, and hospital charges.

Results: Over the study period, there were 18 780 ED visits and 3737 hospitalizations due to motorcycle crashes. Twelve percent of ED visits for motorcycle crashes and 26% of hospitalizations for motorcycle crashes had a diagnosis of TBI. Motorcycle crash-related hospitalizations with a TBI diagnosis had median hospital charges that were nearly $9000 greater than hospitalizations without a TBI diagnosis.

Conclusions: Emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to motorcycle crashes with a TBI diagnosis consumed more healthcare resources than motorcycle crash-related ED visits and hospitalizations without a TBI diagnosis. Increased awareness of motorcyclists by other road users and increased use of motorcycle helmets are 2 strategies to mitigate the incidence and severity of motorcycle crash injuries, including TBIs.

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Ms Harmon, Ms Naumann, and Dr Marshall); Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Raleigh, North Carolina (Mr Proescholdbell); Department of Emergency Medicine, UNC School of Medicine, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Dr Waller).

Corresponding Author: Stephen W. Marshall, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Injury Prevention Research Center, Ste 500, Bank of America Bldg, Campus Box 7505, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (smarshall@unc.edu).

Conflicts of interest and source of funding: Dr Marshall is partly supported by an award R49-CE001495 to the University of North Carolina for an Injury Control Research Center from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr Proescholdbell is partly supported by an award North Carolina Core VIPP 5U17CE002033–03 to the Injury and Violence Prevention Branch from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the authors Ms Harmon, Ms Naumann, and Dr Waller, no conflicts of interest were declared.

Data attribution and disclaimer: NC Department of Health and Human Services/Division of Public Health NC DETECT ED visit data were made available by the NC DETECT Data Oversight Committee. The NC DETECT Data Oversight Committee and NC DETECT do not take responsibility for scientific validity or accuracy of the methodology, statistical analysis, results, or conclusions presented.

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