Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
BEJARANO, Mónica and RENDON, Luis Fernando. Injuries from external causes in minors (less than 18 years of age) and adults at a hospital in Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.25, n.3, pp. 234-241. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892009000300007.
OBJECTIVES: To define and compare the types of injuries from external causes in patients more than and less than 18 years of age treated by the Mario Correa Rengifo Hospital. METHODS: An analysis was conducted of data retrieved from the Sistema de Vigilancia de Lesiones de Causa Externa (Surveillance System for Injuries from External Causes) maintained by the Mario Correa Rengifo Hospital in Cali, Colombia, to compare minors (less than 18 years of age) with adults during January 2004-December 2007. RESULTS: A total of 4 507 minors were seen, most of whom (69.3%) were boys, with unintentional injuries (75.5%); however, 88% of the intentional injuries were person-to-person and 12% were self-inflicted. Injuries had occurred most frequently in the home (44.1%) and on the street (39.5%); the most frequent activity was recreation (53.3%). The minors had more head injuries (odds ratio [OR] = 1.62; P = 0.0000) and maxillofacial injuries (OR = 1.49; P = 0.0000) than did the adults. Alcohol had been consumed in 5.8% and drugs in 2.6%, both of which increased intentional injuries (alcohol OR = 4.25 and drugs OR = 1.56). CONCLUSIONS: The number of patients less than 18 years of age with injuries from external causes being treated at the Mario Correa Rengifo Hospital is constantly rising. The circumstances regarding injuries seen in children and adolescents differ from those of adults in that minors tend to suffer more unintentional injuries in the home or in the street where they play regularly. It is important that special educational and structural strategies be implemented to prevent injuries of this type.
Keywords : Violence; injuries; child health; adolescent health; Colombia.