Morbidity and Mortality

(Disclaimer: The exact percentage of TBI mortality and morbidity is unknown. It is, however, estimated based on epidemiological studies using different statistical methodologies and approaches. Because methodologies differ in defining and identifying significant cases of TBI mortality and morbidity, statistical data on this issue may vary).

Worldwide Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability (20). Worldwide TBI mortality rates range from about 15 to 30 per 100,000 population annually. Based on current census reports, it is estimated that TBI claims approximately 1,165,000 lives per year. Of the five to ten percent of deaths related to general injuries, approximately 40% is associated with traumatic brain injury (21). The human toll of brain injury – loss of life, identity, relationships, and employment – is incalculable.

TBI is a leading cause of death and lifelong disability among children and adults in the United States. The CDC has estimated that each year at least 1.4 million people will sustain a TBI. Of these people, 50,000 will die, 235,000 will be hospitalized and 1.1. million will be treated and released from the emergency department (ED) (9). It remains unknown how many people will experience a TBI and see a family physician or who will receive no care at all (9). Approximately 75% of all TBI is classified as mild TBI (MTBI) (18). MTBI is most often treated in the emergency department or in non-hospital medical settings or is not treated at all (18).

Although mild TBI-related hospitalizations have decreased significantly, there appears to be an increase in TBI-related ED visits. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey in 1991, it was estimated that the incidence of TBI-related ED visits was 216 per 100,000 persons (8). Using 1995-1996 data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey (NHAMCS), it was estimated the TBI-related ED visit rate was 392 per 100,000 persons (4). This increase in TBI-related ED visit rates could have resulted from using different data sources to estimate TBI-related ED visits, or it may reflect actual changes in the hospital practices to shift care of persons with less severe forms of TBI from hospital inpatient care to ED and outpatient treatment (22).