Study Highlights Important Driver of Firearm Injury Outcomes

Firearm injuries requiring vascular repair associated with higher rates of death and complications
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CONTEXT |  Firearm injuries are a major cause of death and disability nationwide, and they disproportionately impact people living in cities and people with low socioeconomic status. Surprisingly little is known about the short- and long-term outcomes associated with firearm injuries overall and the various presentations that physicians encounter.

STUDY OBJECTIVE  |  A group of vascular surgeons at Boston Medical Center, joined by colleagues from emergency medicine and clinical epidemiologists from the Boston University School of Medicine, set out to identify the frequency and pattern of firearm injuries that cause blood-vessel damage.

THE DETAILS  |  The researchers mined the National Inpatient Sample database and examined the diagnostic codes and associated outcomes for roughly 650,000 firearm injuries that occurred between 1993 and 2014.

FINDINGS  |  Victims of firearm injuries who required surgery to repair blood vessels (vascular repair) were more likely to be young, black, male, and living in low-income households. More than 40% had Medicaid insurance. Vascular repair was associated with higher injury severity and a higher rate of death and complications resulting from the injury.

PULL QUOTE  |  "This evidence allows vascular surgeons to participate in a meaningful national dialogue regarding this public health issue."

SO WHAT?  |  Firearm injuries have received comparatively less attention than firearm deaths but have an arguably greater impact on public health. This study sheds light on one facet of firearm injuries and suggests how much remains to be learned about the population affected by firearm injuries and their outcomes.

Source. Siracuse JJ, et al. (2019). Vascular Repair After Firearm Injury Is Associated With Increased Morbidity and Mortality. Journal of Vascular Surgery.