Med devices harm 70K kids annually

FDA researchers say medical device problems send 70,000 kids to the emergency room each year, according to a piece published in Pediatrics. Damage caused by contact lenses account for a quarter of the injuries, with needle-related wounds and infections from implanted devices like ear tubes or pelvic devices also ranking as common problems.

Study authors looked at emergency room data from January 1, 2004 through December 21, 2005, and found about 144,799 medical device adverse events (MDAEs). They determined that the most common type of injuries affected the eyeball, pubic region, finger, face and ear. While MDAEs decreased as children approached 10 years old, they spiked again as kids entered their teens. Girls 16 to 21 were affected at older ages, while boys under 10 were most likely to experience device problems.

The researchers concluded that regulators and healthcare providers need to develop better preventative measures to keep kids from being injured by devices. "Targeted interventions should be developed and resources should be directed to address pediatric MDAEs with the greatest public health impact," notes the authors.

- see the issue of Pediatrics
- check out this AP article