New Trauma Dashboards Reveal Top Causes of Trauma Injury and Death in Arizona, Opportunities for Prevention

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Editor’s note: Information in this blog about the causes of child injury and death have been updated.

Each year, the State Trauma Advisory Board collaborates with the ADHS Bureau of EMS and Trauma System (BEMSTS) to publish a report summarizing injury and trauma mortality in Arizona. 

This year, there are two new resources to share as part of the State Trauma Advisory Board 2023 Report: an online interactive Trauma Dashboard and a Motor Vehicle Traffic (MVT)-Related Trauma Dashboard. Both dashboards currently display data reported to the Arizona State Trauma Registry from 2017 through 2022. They serve to provide valuable insight into the top mechanisms of injury and trauma deaths in Arizona. 

The Trauma Dashboard shows top mechanisms of injury and trauma deaths, with the ability to filter through several years of data to identify trends, risk and protective factors, and opportunities for injury prevention. The MVT-Related Trauma Dashboard shows incidents of Motor Vehicle Traffic related traumatic injury reported to the Arizona State Trauma Registry. 

As Arizona’s population continues to expand, the rise of traumatic injuries and deaths represents a significant health and economic challenge for the state. The Trauma Dashboard shows that there are increases in both the trauma incidents (4%) and trauma-related deaths (3%) reported to the registry in 2022.

Among children ages 0 to 17, falls were the top mechanism of injury, but firearms were the top cause of death. In 2022, twenty-six pediatric patients died from firearm injuries, or one-third of the total of 78 pediatric trauma deaths. Thirty out of 78 (38.4%) pediatric deaths were motor vehicle related trauma incidents, and seven deaths (9.0%) were a result of child abuse. 

For adults older than 65 years of age, falls were the top mechanism of both injury and death, with 23,826 fall injuries (83.5% of the total injuries for this age group) and 554 deaths. Adults over 65 had the highest trauma rate of any age group. The rate of trauma incidents continues to be highest among the American Indian or Alaska Native population for all age groups. 

How Arizonans can help protect themselves from traumatic injury 

Crash data from the Arizona Department of Transportation show that traffic fatalities remain high in Arizona. The new ADHS trauma dashboards illustrate how risk factors and protective measures can increase or reduce the impact of traumatic injury. For example, use of helmets and passenger restraints are significant protection factors proven to increase survival. 

In 2022, motor vehicle passengers who visited a trauma center who were not wearing seatbelts were nearly four times as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident compared to passengers who were wearing seatbelts. 

While less than half of Arizona motorcyclists involved in an accident with a motor vehicle wore helmets, motorcyclists were nearly two times more likely to die if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. 

The new trauma dashboards highlight opportunities to prevent morbidity and mortality resulting from traumatic injury. Continuing to focus on basic yet effective injury prevention efforts like falls prevention, firearm safety, and passenger helmet and seatbelt use will save the lives of Arizonans. 

 

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