Aging with traumatic brain injury: long-term health conditions

Int J Rehabil Res. 2004 Sep;27(3):209-14. doi: 10.1097/00004356-200409000-00006.


Although traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in young adults, older adults over the age of 75 are also at high risk for TBI. As even mild injury can lead to disabling consequences, the long-term consequences of TBI need to be better understood, especially as the survival rate has increased dramatically in the last few decades. This research examined the prevalence of long-term health conditions after TBI. Using a retrospective cohort design, we examined consecutive records of adults with moderate to severe TBI discharged from a large rehabilitation hospital in Pennsylvania from 1974 to 1989. Baseline clinical information was abstracted from medical records. We interviewed consenting participants up to 24 years after injury. Our findings show a higher than expected prevalence of self-reported arthritis in the middle-aged population. There was also a high prevalence of problems with sleep and nerves many years post-injury. Some of the health conditions documented in this study could potentially be addressed early in rehabilitation; this study supports the screening of more physical health conditions in persons aging with TBI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Arthritis / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology