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Emergency department presentations with mammalian bite injuries: risk factors for admission and surgery

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Animal bites, particularly by mammals, are common in Australia,1,2 and their treatment is a substantial public health burden.3 Clinical assessment and the subsequent decision to transfer patients to surgical centres may be challenging, especially for primary health care providers, paramedics and rural emergency departments. There have been few investigations into predictors of hospital admission and surgery for bite injury patients.2,4 We retrospectively analysed the characteristics of all mammalian bite injuries with which patients presented to seven major hospital emergency departments in Victoria during a 2-year period.


Study design

A retrospective review of all patients presenting with mammalian bite injuries to seven Victorian emergency departments (at the Alfred Hospital, Austin Hospital, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Frankston Hospital, Monash Medical Centre, St Vincent’s Hospital and Western Hospital) during the 2-year period 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2013 was undertaken. Patients were identified using International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM) codes for animal-related injury, and by searching patient record…