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J Neurotrauma. 2015 Dec 1;32(23):1893-901. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3353. Epub 2014 Nov 4.

Life Expectancy after Inpatient Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States.

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1 Research Department, Craig Hospital , Englewood, Colorado.
2 Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana , Indianapolis, India na.
3 Traumatic Brain Injury Team, Health Systems and Trauma Systems Branch, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Altanta, Georgia .
4 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ohio State University , Columbus, Ohio.
5 National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research , United States Department of Education, Washington, DC.


This study characterized life expectancy after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The TBI Model Systems (TBIMS) National Database (NDB) was weighted to represent those ≥16 years of age completing inpatient rehabilitation for TBI in the United States (US) between 2001 and 2010. Analyses included Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMRs), Cox regression, and life expectancy. The US mortality rates by age, sex, race, and cause of death for 2005 and 2010 were used for comparison purposes. Results indicated that a total of 1325 deaths occurred in the weighted cohort of 6913 individuals. Individuals with TBI were 2.23 times more likely to die than individuals of comparable age, sex, and race in the general population, with a reduced average life expectancy of 9 years. Independent risk factors for death were: older age, male gender, less-than-high school education, previously married at injury, not employed at injury, more recent year of injury, fall-related TBI, not discharged home after rehabilitation, less functional independence, and greater disability. Individuals with TBI were at greatest risk of death from seizures; accidental poisonings; sepsis; aspiration pneumonia; respiratory, mental/behavioral, or nervous system conditions; and other external causes of injury and poisoning, compared with individuals in the general population of similar age, gender, and race. This study confirms prior life expectancy study findings, and provides evidence that the TBIMS NDB is representative of the larger population of adults receiving inpatient rehabilitation for TBI in the US. There is an increased risk of death for individuals with TBI requiring inpatient rehabilitation.


brain injury, chronic; life expectancy; mortality; rehabilitation

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