Trauma in Brazil - 126,000 deaths in 2003. Do we know enough to prevent?

TitleTrauma in Brazil - 126,000 deaths in 2003. Do we know enough to prevent?
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDr Szpilman, MD, D
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other NumbersPO-01

In 2003 the Brazilian population reached 176 million inhabitants, of which one million died. Some death is more preventable than others, and one of the highest causes is trauma. Our purpose is to evaluate if we have enough information to establish a plan to reduce the incidence of trauma, using data of trauma in Brazil in the year of 2003.

Method: Trauma rates, deaths and the need for hospitalization among Brazilian residents were calculated from death certificate data (Mortality System Information) and government hospitalisation report (AIH) in 2003, on DATASUS using International Code of Disease (ICD10).

Results: In 2003, there were 126 thousands deaths (72/100,000 inhabitants) in Brazil due to trauma. Trauma was the first cause of death among 5 to 44 years old (table 1) and represents 47% of death in that range. From death caused by trauma 70% occurred in this age. Considering the 4 most frequently causes of death, aggression was the first with 40% (51,042 Brazilians) (table 2). Drowning was the second among 1 to 14 years old, auto-inflicted was important between 15 and 34 years, and transport accident was detected in the top of all ages from 1 to 54 years old. There were 860,000 cases of trauma attended at the hospital and 733,000 needed hospitalisations. The estimated risk of death in trauma was 15% and in aggression was 55% (table 3).

Discussion: Trauma is a high cause of death in Brazil and affects mainly the youngest population (1 to 44 years old) which represents more than 50% of deaths. Although causes like falls, drowning and accident by transportation is more commonly attended at the hospital, aggression has the highest mortality rates and the majority died before hospital. Data demonstrated to have enough information about death, but failed on non-death (hospitalisation or not), and mostly on minor trauma. This underreported situation would work as a confounding factor on how to plan strategic to prevention. Considering what we have learned on this research, trauma has high mortality rates and prevention campaigns should focus on two mainstreams. Firstly would be to educate the ages most affected to decrease the epidemic situation and secondly would be to face the endemic trauma by starting education on very early ages.

Learning Outcomes
  1. What is the burden of trauma and death by drowning in a developing country - Brazil?
  2. Do we have enough information to do a prevention strategic plan?
  3. How can we improve reporting and statistics on death by drowning to help planning?