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Some Injured Children Have Long-Term Impairment

Girls more likely than boys to have long-term problems

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Eight percent of injured children have some long-term residual impairment, with girls three times more likely than boys to experience long-lasting problems, according to the results of a Dutch study published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

Suzanne Polinder, MSc., of Erasmus MC/University Medical Center in Rotterdam, and colleagues followed 1,221 children aged 5 to 14 who had visited an emergency department in the Netherlands for treatment of an injury. The sample was stratified so that unusually severe injuries were over-represented. In questionnaires administered at 2.5, five and nine months, children were asked to rate their own health on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being the worst imaginable and 100 the best imaginable.

Overall, 26% had at least one functional limitation after 2.5 months and 8% continued to have some residual impairment at nine months. Lower extremity fractures and neurological injuries were associated with the worst outcome. Pain and discomfort persisted in 7% of children and 5% continued to have trouble with self-care.

The need for hospital admission as a result of the injury was associated with a 3.6- to 5.8-fold higher risk of residual impairment and girls were threefold more likely to have long-term disability.

The authors note that studies of injuries in adults have also shown that women have a higher risk of long-term impairment after injury in than men. They hypothesize that physiologic, psychologic and social differences may influence this association.

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