Penetrating trauma in urban women: Patterns of injury and violence

Christina L. Jacovides, Brandon Bruns, Daniel N. Holena, Carrie A. Sims, Douglas J. Wiebe, Patrick M. Reilly, Jose L. Pascual

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Penetrating trauma is known to occur with less frequency in women than in men, and this difference has resulted in a lack of characterization of penetrating injury patterns involving women. We hypothesized that the nature of penetrating injury differs significantly by gender and that these injuries in women are associated with important psychosocial and environmental factors. Materials and methods: A level 1 urban trauma center registry was queried for all patients with penetrating injuries from 2002-2010. Patient and injury variables (demographics and mechanism of injury) were abstracted and compared between genders; additional social and psychiatric histories and perpetrator information were collected from the records of admitted female patients. Results: Injured women were more likely to be Caucasian, suffer stab wounds instead of gunshot wounds, and present with a higher blood alcohol level than men. Compared with women with gunshot wounds, those with stab wounds were three times more likely to report a psychiatric or intimate partner violence history. Women with self-inflicted injuries had a significantly greater incidence of prior penetrating injury and psychiatric and criminal history. Male perpetrators outnumbered female perpetrators; patients frequently not only knew their perpetrator but also were their intimate partners. Intimate partner violence and random cross-fire incidents each accounted for about a quarter of injuries observed. Conclusions: Penetrating injuries in women represent a nonnegligible subset of injuries seen in urban trauma centers. Psychiatric and social risk factors for violence play important roles in these cases, particularly when self-infliction is suspected. Resources allocated for urban violence prevention should proportionately reflect the particular patterns of violence observed in injured women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-598
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Female
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Penetrating trauma
  • Psychiatric history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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