To characterize the epidemiology of children and adolescents admitted for deliberate self-harm to PICUs in the United States by examining patient demographics, diagnoses, modes of self-harm, and outcomes.
Descriptive analysis of a large, multicenter, quality-controlled database.
The 137 PICUs participating in the Virtual Pediatric Systems database during the study period.
Children between 6 and 18 years old admitted to a participating PICU from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2017, with a diagnosis involving deliberate self-harm or a suicide attempt.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS:
Of 9,197 admissions for self-harm, females accounted for 6,740 (73.3%), whereas males incurred 174 of the 284 deaths (61.3%). Admissions for self-harm doubled over the study period (0.56% in 2009 vs 1.13% in 2017), with an increase observed across every age group. After PICU care, most patients were transferred to a general care floor (51.1%) or to a psychiatric rehabilitation facility (31.8%). Intentional drug ingestion (84%) was the most common mode of self-harm but was associated with less than 1% of the fatalities. Asphyxia/hanging or firearms were a factor in 411 (4.5%) and 106 (1.2%) of the admissions but were associated with 117 (28.5%) and 55 (51.9%) of the deaths, respectively.
PICU admissions due to self-harm increased for all age groups during the study period. Females accounted for most of these admissions, whereas males accrued most of the in-hospital deaths. Intentional drug ingestion was the most common mode of self-harm and was rarely fatal, whereas asphyxia and firearms were the mechanisms associated with the highest mortality.