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MMWR Surveill Summ. 2003 Jun 27;52(4):1-20.

Traumatic brain injury-related hospital discharges. Results from a 14-state surveillance system, 1997.

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National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, USA.



Previous studies indicate that each year in the United States, approximately 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Of those injured, approximately one quarter million are hospitalized. Approximately one third of adults hospitalized with TBI still need help with daily activities 1 year after their discharge.


This report summarizes surveillance data for TBI in the United States for January-December 1997.


Data are from 14 states that participated in an ongoing CDC-funded TBI surveillance system. State health departments used CDC guidelines to identify TBI cases from hospital discharge data or from other statewide injury data systems. Supplementary information was abstracted from medical records.


The overall age-adjusted TBI-related live hospital discharge rate was 69.7/100,000 population. Rates were highest for American Indians and Alaska Natives (75.3/100,000) and Blacks (74.4/100,000). The age-adjusted rate for males was approximately twice as high as for females (91.9 versus 47.7/100,000 respectively). For both sexes, the rates were highest among those aged 15-19 years and >/= 65 years. Motor-vehicle crashes, falls, and assaults were the leading causes of injury for TBI-related discharges (27.9, 22.5, and 7.3/100,000 respectively). TBI-related discharge rates for falls were highest among those aged >/= 65 years (82.3/100,000). Black males and American Indian/Alaska Native males had the highest rates of TBI attributable to assault (31.3 and 29.5 per 100,000, respectively), approximately 4 times the rate for white males. An estimated 46% of injured motor-vehicle occupants, 53% of motorcyclists, and 41% of pedal cyclists reportedly were not using personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., seat belts or helmets) at the time of their TBI. With regard to outcome assessed before discharge from the hospital, approximately 17% of persons hospitalized with TBI had moderate to severe disability.


Data in this report, the most extensive to date from a multistate population-based TBI surveillance system, indicate the importance of TBI as a public health problem. Population-based information regarding TBI hospitalizations can be useful in assessing the effect of prevention efforts and planning for the service needs of persons with TBI.

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