Trauma/Critical Care| Volume 169, ISSUE 5, P1188-1198, May 2021

Prevalence and hospital charges from firearm injuries treated in US emergency departments from 2006 to 2016

Published:December 28, 2020DOI:



      Age- and intent-related differences in the burden and costs of firearm injury treated in emergency departments are not well-documented.


      We performed a serial cross-sectional study of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Program Nationwide Emergency Department Survey from 2006 to 2016. We used International Classification of Diseases diagnoses codes revisions 9 and 10 to identify firearm injuries. We calculated survey-weighted counts, proportions, means, and rates and confidence intervals of national, age-specific (0–4, 5–9, 10–14, 15–17, 18–44, 45–64, 65–84, >84) and intent-specific (assault, unintentional, suicide, undetermined) emergency department discharges for firearm injuries. We used survey-weighted regression to assess temporal trends.


      There was a total of 868,483 (25.5 per 100,000) emergency department visits for firearm injuries from 2006 to 2016, and 7.8% died in the emergency department. Overall, firearm injury rates remained steady (P = .78). The largest burden was among those 25 to 44 years of age, but their rates remained stable (10.8 per 100,000). Overall assault injuries declined from 39.7% to 36.4%, and overall unintentional injuries increased from 46.4% to 54.7%. Legal-intervention injuries declined from 0.6 to 0.3 per 100,000. The charges (total $4,059,070,364, $369,006,396/year) increased across time in age and intent groups. The mean predicted charges increased from $1,922 to $3,348 in those alive versus $3,741 to $6,515 among those who died.


      Interventions and programs to manage the consequences of firearm injury in persons who live with ongoing morbidity and economic burden are warranted.
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