Pediatric minor head injury related return visits to the emergency department and their outcome

Rajan Arora, Meghna Shukla, Elizabeth McQuillen, Usha Sethuraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Minor head injury (MHI) in children is a common emergency department (ED) presentation. It is well established that majority of these patients don't require imaging and can be safely discharged. What is less known is how often these children come back to the ED and the outcome of their revisits? The objective of this study was to describe the frequency and outcome of unscheduled return visits (RVs) for MHI in a pediatric ED. Methods: A retrospective chart review of emergency department RV's database was conducted from August 2016 to July 2019. MHI patients <18 years of age who came back to the ED within 72 h of their index visit - for head injury related complaints - were eligible for inclusion. Results: Return visit rate for MHI was around 1% (61/6225). Of these, 55.7% (34/61) were female and 85.5% (53/61) were in the age group 2–17 years. Three-fourths of the revisits were for concussion-related symptoms. Nearly two-thirds of the patients required one or more interventions upon revisit. Missed clinically important traumatic brain injury was rare. Only one patient required operative intervention upon revisit. Though largely unpreventable, 5% (3/61) of the revisits were deemed potentially avoidable. Conclusion(s): RVs secondary to MHI in children remain low and are associated with good outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-74
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Children
  • Emergency department
  • Minor head injury
  • Return visit


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