The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5039.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 9:10 AM

Abstract #58348

Ambulatory care utilization for self-inflicted injuries

Lenora M. Olson, MA, Intermountain Injury Control Research Center, University of Utah, 615 Arapeen Drive, Suite 202, Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1226, 801.585.9157,, Stacey Knight, MStat, University of Utah School of Medicine, Intermountain Injury Control Research Center, 410 Chipeta Way, Suite 222, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, Susan S. Gallagher, MPH, Education Development Center, Inc., 55 Chapel Street, Newton, MA 02458, and Lois A Fingerhut, MA, NCHS, 6525 Belcrest Road, Rm 750, Hyattsville, MD 20782.

Introduction: Every year, approximately 30,000 people die by suicide and 650,000 people receive emergency treatment for a self-inflicted injury. Unfortunately, information on attempted self-inflicted injuries is scant. Methods: The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS), a national sample of emergency department visits, was used for the years 1997-2000 to examine visits related to self-inflicted injuries and compared to mortality data for the same years. Results: There were 406,648,364 emergency department visits in NAMCS and 1,671,195 visits (4.1%) were for self-inflicted injuries. During this same time period, 119,581 suicides occurred resulting in approximately 14 self-inflicted injuries for every death. Females accounted for 57.7% and males 42.4% of the emergency department visits compared to 20% of female suicides and 80% of male suicides. For every female death, there were 41 self-inflicted injuries while for every male death there were 7 self-inflicted injuries. Poisonings (66.4%), and cutting/piercing (20.7%) were the main causes of self-inflicted compared to firearms (56.5%), suffocation (19.4%) and poisoning (16.5%) for suicides. Conclusion: Suicide remains a leading public health problem. While national data on suicides is available, data on suicide attempts is much less complete. We found that for every suicide, there were 14 self-inflicted injuries. This difference was more pronounced by gender. Our study points to the need for better sources of data related to suicide and suicide attempts. It appears that this increased attention to suicide is warranted and must continue if suicide is to be prevented.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Suicide, Injury Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Violent Injury: What Do the Existing Data Tell Us?

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA