Introduction: This study describes the characteristics of hand trauma treated in community-based emergency centers (CBECs) in Israel. It was hypothesized that the rate of hand trauma, as well as patient and injury characteristics, would differ from a recent study of patients treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) in Jerusalem. Methods: Data on all hand injury patients treated at any of the CBECs belonging to a large nationwide chain in 2017 were retrieved from the electronic medical records of the treatment centers, including demographic and clinical characteristics. Results: Over the course of 2017, 53,574 individuals were treated for forearm, wrist and hand injuries (35% of all trauma patients treated during this period). The majority of the patients were male (62%). Contusions and fractures were common (80%) with a minority of lacerations (10%). Crush injuries and amputations were rare. Dog bites accounted for 1.5% of the injuries under the age of 10. Females were treated more with painkillers and opioids, especially over the age of 65, with variability between centers. Although the rate of fractures was similar between teens and the elderly, the elderly were treated with immobilization less frequently, and were referred to EDs for further care. Hospital referral rates differed significantly between centers. Discussion: A higher rate of hand trauma was found in the CBECs in comparison to the hospital ED report (35% vs. 20% of all trauma patients, respectively). Patients treated at the CBECs, in comparison to the ED, were less often male, less often young adults, and differed in terms of type of injury. In the CBECs there were more contusions, as well as fewer lacerations and open wound injuries. In contrast, dog bites in children were found to be much more prevalent than previously reported. Hospital referral indications, the use of immobilization and pain management were found to vary according to age, gender and treatment center. Due to the high rate of hand trauma in CBECs, specific protocols are needed for these patients. The use of opioids should be specifically addressed, considering recent changes in treatment protocols. Thus, the prevalence and characteristics of hand trauma may be biased in studies based on hospital records.
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- Community-based emergency centers
- Emergency department
- Fracture immobilization
- Hand trauma
- Pain management