Death Rates For Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

In the United States, TBI is the primary or secondary diagnosis in more than 2 million emergency department visits annually, with 3.2 million persons, or 1% of the population, living with long-term disability from TBI [1]. Brain injuries have long been regarded as one of the most elusive type of injuries in the medical field because of how complex the human brain is. Many studies that have tried to establish a link between the rate of mortality and brain injury have only focused on major or severe brain injuries. However, in recent times, there have been studies conducted looking at the relationship between mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and the rate of death. These studies have found a causal link between injury and mortality.

Study Published in JAMA Psychiatry

In a 41-year Swedish population study published in JAMA Psychiatry last year, it was concluded that traumatic brain injury is associated with substantially elevated risks of premature mortality, particularly for suicide, injuries and assaults, even after adjustment for sociodemographic and familial factors [2]. After a resulting traumatic brain injury, patients are 3 times more likely to prematurely die before the age of 56 when compared to the general population. In total, there were 218,300 patients who were tracked based on the criteria that they were born in 1954 and after. The patients also had to have received inpatient or outpatient care for a TBI between 1969 and 2009.

They looked at the mortality rates for patients who passed at least six months after sustaining the TBI, comparing the statistics to the general population as well as siblings of the patient in question. Continually, they controlled for the way the person died, such as suicide, injury or assault. The researchers also accounted for how sex, age of death, severity of brain injury and follow-up times after diagnosis played a part in the patient’s outcome.

The rate for individuals without any history of TBI died prematurely at 0.2 percent; whereas those who had a TBI were three times higher. These individuals were also more likely to have committed suicide, be a victim of assault or have a fatal injury.

Traumatic injuries have been linked to sports because of the risk of harm. Concussions have been studied extensively in sports. The results have shown that people who have a history of TBIs may be more likely to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease that is also linked to premature death.

Research at the University of Glasgow & the University of Edinburgh

For about 15 years, the researchers at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh have been following a major population of adults admitted to the hospital with traumatic brain injuries. This study included over 2,400 adults with mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) and was case-matched for age, gender, social depravation and controlled for individuals with no brain injuries.

The researchers found that mortality in the mTBI group was higher than in the control group and other injury control group. They found that age at injury was important as younger adults (15-54) with mild brain injury had a 4.2 greater risk of death than the control group. In adults age over 54 the risk of death was 1.4 times higher. Repeated brain injury was also a risk factor for death in the mild traumatic brain injury group [3].

The researchers concluded, “Adults hospitalized with [mild traumatic brain injuries] had a greater risk of death in the following fifteen years in matched controls. The extent to which lifestyle and potential chronic changes in neuro pathology explain these findings is unclear. Lifestyle factors do contribute to risk of death after MHI and this finding has implications for lifestyle management interventions.”

Dolman Law Group

Studies such as the two mentioned, indicate that even a mild traumatic brain injury can have significant long-lasting effects on a victim. Victims who suffer from a mild traumatic brain injury caused by another party, such as an auto accident or medical malpractice, may wish to consult an attorney. A young adult may also receive a concussion due to playing a sport. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to gain compensation through a personal injury lawsuit filed with the assistance of an experienced brain injury attorney that would seek damages from the responsible party to cover the victim’s medical expenses and lifestyle alterations that resulted. Let Dolman Law Group help you today. Call (727) 451-6900 to schedule a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765



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