Author(s): Martin MJ, Weng J, Demetriades D, Salim A, Martin MJ, Weng J, Demetriades D, Salim A
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Abstract PURPOSE: Hanging has become the second most common method of attempted suicide among adolescents, but there is little relevant epidemiologic or outcome data in the trauma literature. Additionally, there are no studies examining the degree of functional disability among survivors of hanging injury. METHODS: The National Trauma Data Bank was queried for all patients with an E-code diagnosis of hanging injury. Demographic and injury pattern data were analyzed. Disability at discharge was assessed using the functional independence measure (FIM) scores for feeding, locomotion, and expression (range 1 = full disability to 4 = no disability). Univariate and multivariate analysis was performed to identify independent predictors of mortality and degree of functional disability at discharge. RESULTS: There were 655 patients identified (84\% male) with a mean age of 30.3 years and mean injury severity score (ISS) of 9. There were 92 (14\%) deaths in the emergency department (ED) and 119 (18\%) deaths after admission, for an overall mortality rate of 33\%. Excluding ED deaths, survivors had significantly higher Glasgow coma scores (GCS) at the scene (8 vs. 4) and in the ED (9 vs. 3), a lower ED base deficit (4 vs. 9), and lower ISS (6 vs. 15, all P < .01) compared with nonsurvivors. The strongest independent predictor of hospital mortality was ED GCS <15 (odds ratio 16.1, P < .01); the mortality rate was 1.5\% for patients with an ED GCS of 15 versus 29\% for any GCS <15. Of patients who survived to discharge (n = 277), 84\% were functionally independent (total FIM = 12), and 10\% had severe functional disabilities in feeding, expression, or locomotion (FIM <3). Patients with severe disability had a higher incidence of intracranial (38\% vs. 19\%) and chest injury (19\% vs. 5\%) but surprisingly demonstrated equivalent rates of vascular (0\% vs. 2.6\%) and spinal injury (11\% vs. 12\%) compared with those without severe disability. Independent predictors of functional outcome were ISS and ED GCS (both P < .01). There was no severe functional disability at discharge among patients with an ED GCS of 15 compared with a 15\% severe disability rate if the ED GCS was <15. CONCLUSIONS: Hanging injuries are associated with a high overall mortality rate, with the admission GCS being the best independent predictor of outcome. However, the majority of survivors have little to no functional disability. The presence of severe disability at discharge is mainly attributed to intracranial and thoracic injury.
This article was published in Am J Surg
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research