Traumatic brain injury hospitalizations among American Indians/Alaska Natives

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2005 May-Jun;20(3):205-14. doi: 10.1097/00001199-200505000-00004.


Objectives: To compare the incidence of nonfatal traumatic brain injury (TBI) hospitalization among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) with that of other race groups and to assess alcohol and protective equipment (PE) use among those who sustained TBI related to a motor vehicle (MV) incident.

Methods: Data were obtained from 13 states funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct TBI surveillance from 1997 to 1999. Rates by race and by cause were calculated for the 13 states combined. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels and PE use were compared between AI/AN and "other" races in a subgroup of these states.

Results: Although not significantly different, AI/AN had the highest overall age-adjusted TBI hospitalization rate (71.5 per 100,000). Rates were significantly higher among AI/AN than among whites for ages 20 to 44 years (78.5 per 100,000 vs 54.7 per 100,000, P < .0001). MV incidents were the leading cause of TBI (40.1% of cases) among AI/AN, and AI/AN injured in MV incidents had higher BAC levels (65.7% > or = 0.08 g/dL vs 31.6% > or = 0.08 g/dL, P < .0001) and lower PE use (22.0% vs 40.4%, P < .0001) than the "other" race group.

Conclusion: AI/AN have high rates of TBI hospitalization compared with other races. High BAC levels and low use of PE in MV incidents appear to be associated with the higher rates in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Ethanol