BACKGROUND: Brain injuries are a significant public health problem, particularly among the pediatric population. Brain injuries account for a significant portion of pediatric injury deaths, and are the highest contributor to morbidity and mortality in the pediatric and young adult populations. Several studies focus on particular mechanisms of brain injury and the cost of treating brain injuries, but few studies exist in the literature examining the highest contributing mechanisms to pediatric brain injury and the billed charges associated with them. METHODS: Data were extracted from the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS) from member hospitals on all patients admitted with diagnosed head injuries and comparisons were made between ICU and non-ICU admissions. Collected data included demographic information, injury information, total billed charges, and patient outcome. RESULTS: Motor vehicle collisions, falls, and assaults/abuse are the three highest contributors to brain injury in terms of total numbers and total billed charges. These three mechanisms of injury account for almost $1 billion in total charges across the five-year period, and account for almost half of the total charges in this dataset over that time period. CONCLUSION: Research focusing on brain injury should be tailored to the areas of the most pressing need and the highest contributing factors. While this study is focused on a select number of pediatric hospitals located throughout the country, it identifies significant contributors to head injuries, and the costs associated with treating them.
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