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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Neuroepidemiology
Title Hospitalised and fatal head injuries in Viti Levu, Fiji: findings from an island-wide trauma registry (TRIP 4)
Author(s)
Volume 38
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 179-185
URL http://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/337261
Abstract
Background: Globally, head injury is a substantial cause of mortality and morbidity. A disproportionately greater burden is borne by low- and middle-income countries. The incidence and characteristics of fatal and hospitalised head injuries in Fiji are unknown. Methods: Using prospective data from the Fiji Injury Surveillance in Hospital system, the epidemiology of fatal and hospitalised head injuries was investigated (2004–2005). Results: In total, 226 hospital admissions and 50 fatalities (66% died prior to admission) with a principal diagnosis of head injury were identified (crude annual rates of 34.7 and 7.7/100,000, respectively). Males were more likely to die and be hospitalised as a result of head injury than females. The highest fatality rate was among those in the 30–44-year age group. Road traffic crashes were the leading causes of injuries resulting in death (70%), followed by ‘hit by person or object’ and falls (14% each). Among people admitted to hospital, road traffic crashes (34.5%) and falls (33.2%) were the leading causes of injury. The leading cause of head injuries in children was falls, in 15–29-year-olds road traffic crashes, and in adults aged 30–44 years or 45 years and older ‘hit by person or object’. Among the two major ethnic groups, Fijians had higher rates of falls and ‘hit by person or object’ and Indians higher rates for road traffic crashes. There were no statistically significant differences between the overall rates of head injuries or the fatal and non-fatal rates among Fijians or Indians by gender following age standardisation to the total Fijian national population. Conclusion: Despite underestimating the overall burden, this study identified head injury to be a major cause of death and hospitalisation in Fiji. The predominance of males and road traffic-related injuries is consistent with studies on head injuries conducted in other low- and middle-income countries. The high fatality rate among those aged 30–44 years in this study has not been noted previously. The high case fatality rate prior to admission to the hospital requires urgent attention.

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