A review of injury epidemiology in the UK and Europe: some methodological considerations in constructing rates
Paediatric injury surveillance and prevention are definite priorities for the European, Belgian, and Flemish authorities. Current available data for Flanders (Belgium) are fragmentary and out-of-date. The PENTA registry (PaEdiatric Network around TraumA) was therefore set up to obtain recent population-based data on trauma and trauma care in children and youngsters in Flanders. Data were collected prospectively in a representative sample (n = 18) of Flemish emergency departments (ED). All children (age 0–17 years) who presented at the ED in 2005 or died prehospital due to trauma were included. The registry was split into two levels. The basic A registry (‘all’ trauma) consisted of 30 variables, and the more exhaustive B registry (‘severe trauma’, defined as length of hospitalisation >48 hours, including all nonsurvivors) collected data on 291 variables. The incidence for paediatric trauma presenting at Flemish ED was approximately 119/1000/year. Further data were collected in a random sample of 7,879 cases (21.9% of 35,900 eligible patients). Of all cases, 0.8% were considered ‘severe’ and included in the B registry. In conclusion, the ’burden‘ of injury in Flanders is still enormous. PENTA provides the first population-based data about the circumstances and the extent of injury in children and youngsters for the Flemish region. In this article we present in detail the surplus value of the methods used, the difficulties encountered, and the most relevant epidemiological findings from the registry.