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What is the Incident Rate of GU (Genitourinary) Injuries for Bicyclists (Adult and Children)?

Bicycling Leads All Sports in Genitourinary Injuries

VANCOUVER—Bicycle riding accounts for more genitourinary (GU) injuries in the U.S. than any other sport, with children suffering 10 times as many bike-related injuries as adults, researchers reported at the 33rd Congress of the Societé Internationale d’Urologie.

Those are among the findings of a review of information in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) from 2002-2010. NEISS is a national probability sample of hospitals in the U.S. and its territories. NEISS is run by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and includes data from a sampling of American hospitals on every emergency department visit involving an injury associated with consumer products.

Benjamin Breyer, MD, of the Department of Urology at the University of California San Francisco, dug through thousands of line items in the NEISS to find bike-related GU injuries, identifying a total of 1,627. These included any type of fall from a bike, a bike rider colliding with an object other than his/her bike or the ground, and a person striking a part of his/her bike to produce injury. Overlapping injuries could happen: That is, one incident could produce more than one type of injury.

Collisions accounted for about 70% of the injuries. Sixty-one percent of the injured individuals were male. Furthermore, 12.1% were adult hospital inpatients and 6.6% were pediatric hospital inpatients, indicating adults were more likely to be hospitalized.

Dr. Breyer calculated from these data that there were 53 and 448 bike-related GU injuries/100,000 person-years in adults and children, respectively, in 2002-2010.

“I bet parents have a lower threshold to seek attention for their child, and also pediatric injuries appeared less severe, because children had fewer kidney injuries and fewer admissions,” Dr. Breyer said in explaining the disparities in rates.

He calculated that this translated into a total of more than 43,200 such injuries across the U.S. in that time period. This is significantly higher than the total for all other sports-related GU injuries combined, including swimming (the sport associated with the second-highest total of GU injuries), football, basketball, soccer, skiing/snowboarding, and sports involving vehicles.

Children were most likely to have injuries of the female external genitalia, scrotum/testes, or penis. Adults were more likely to have injuries of the scrotum/testes. The urethra and kidneys were also injured in many patients, with adults being more likely than kids to have a kidney injury.

The top tube was responsible for the largest portion of injuries—about 50% in both adults and children. Handle bars caused the second-largest proportion of injuries.

Dr. Breyer and his colleagues now are exploring ways to promote injury prevention and are also examining what bicycle-related injuries occur to the rest of the body.

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