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Brain Inj. 2000 Apr;14(4):373-81.

Ambulatory care for traumatic brain injuries in the US, 1995-1997.

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Iowa Department of Public Health, Des Moines, USA.


The burden of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not well understood at the national level, but hospitalization rates show a decline over time. This paper describes ambulatory care for TBI patients at physician offices, hospital outpatient departments, and emergency departments (EDs) in comparison with non-TBI visits for the US during 1995-1997. An estimated 1.4 million visits for TBI were made each year for an average annual rate of 5.4/1,000 population. A decline in annual visit rate was noted during 1995-1997. Visit rates were higher for those aged 0 -14 and 75 and older. Falls (44%) and motor vehicles (28%) were the primary injury causes. Rural-urban differences were found, also in comparison with non-TBI. In 23% of visits to EDs, a CT scan was ordered or performed and in 33%, a mental status exam was conducted. Further investigations are warranted to describe ambulatory care for TBI in more detail, particularly in light of a decline in hospitalization rates.

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