United States emergency department visits coded for intimate partner violence

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Background—Limited information exists about medical treatment for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) Objective—Our aim was to estimate the number of emergency department (ED) visits and subsequent hospitalizations that were assigned a code specific to IPV and to describe the clinical and sociodemographic features of this population. Methods—Data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample from 2006–2009 were analyzed. Cases with an external cause of injury code of E967.3 (battering by spouse or partner) were abstracted. Results—From 2006–2009, there were 112,664 visits made to United States EDs with an e-code for battering by a part-ner or spouse. Most patients were female (93 %) with a mean age of 35 years. Patients were significantly more likely to reside in communities with the lowest median income quar-tile and in the Southern United States. Approximately 5% of visits resulted in hospital admission. The mean charge for treat-and-release visits was $1904.69 and $27,068.00 for hospitalizations. Common diagnoses included superficial injuries and contusions, skull/face fractures, and complications of pregnancy. Females were more likely to experience superficial injuries and contusions, and males were more likely to have open wounds of the head, neck, trunk, and extremities. Conclusions—From 2006 to 2009, there were approximately 28,000 ED visits per year with an e-code specific to IPV. Although a minority, 7% of these visits were made by males, which has not been reported previously. Future prospective research should confirm the unique demographic and geographic features of these visits to guide development of targeted screening and intervention strategies to mitigate IPV and further characterize male IPV visits.