Cell phone injuries to head and neck are on the rise

  • Povolotskiy R & al.
  • JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg
  • 5 dic. 2019

  • de Jenny Blair, MD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • This study suggests the public might benefit from education about the risks of cell phone use, especially with regard to distraction.

Why this matters

  • Head and neck injuries can impose heavy psychological and financial burdens.

Key results

  • Extrapolating from database sample, 76,043 patients sustained cell phone-related injuries over the study period.
  • Injury locations: 
    • Head: 33.1%.
    • Face, including eyes and nose: 32.7%.
    • Neck: 12.5%.
  • Injury types:
    • Laceration: 26.3%.
    • Contusion/abrasion: 24.5%.
    • Internal organ injury (e.g., mild traumatic brain injury): 18.4%.
  • Incidence rose steadily over the study period, with steep increases in 2007 and 2016.
  • Distraction, including while texting and use while driving or walking, accounted for at least 18.6% of injuries.
    • 60.3% of distraction injuries occurred among users aged 13-29 years.

Study design

  • Retrospective cross-sectional study of the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which included records of patients presenting to 100 US emergency departments with injuries associated with cell phone use, 1998-2017 (n=2501).
  • Outcomes: incidence, types, mechanisms of injury.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Limitations

  • NEISS does not capture visits to urgent care or other care settings.