Use of Emergency Department Services for Hand, Wrist, and Forearm Fractures in the United States in 2008


The objective of this study was to determine demographic characteristics and epidemiology of hand, wrist, and forearm fracture patients treated in the emergency departments (EDs) to identify the at-risk populations. The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database collected by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality was used to estimate ED visits for hand, wrist, and forearm fractures during 2008. The overall rate of ED visits for these injuries was 54 per 10,000 population. Children aged 6 to 15 had the highest rate of ED visits at 124 per 10,000. A secondary increase in ED visits occurred at age 50 and rose with age. Metacarpals were the most common fracture location in adults aged 16 to 25, while radius and ulna were the most common fracture location in all other age groups. Demographic analysis identified children, adult males aged 16 to 25, and the elderly as target populations for preventive interventions. Key words: emergency department, epidemiology, forearm fractures, hand fractures, wrist fractures

Igor Immerman, MD; Meryl S. Livermore, MD; and Robert M. Szabo, MD, MPH