The CDC traumatic brain injury surveillance system: characteristics of persons aged 65 years and older hospitalized with a TBI

J Head Trauma Rehabil. May-Jun 2005;20(3):215-28. doi: 10.1097/00001199-200505000-00005.


Objective: To examine the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of older persons (ie, those aged 65-74, 75-84, and > or = 85 years) hospitalized with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods: Data from the 1999 CDC 15-state TBI surveillance system were analyzed.

Results: In 1999, there were 17,657 persons 65 years and older hospitalized with TBI in the 15 states for an age-adjusted rate of 155.9 per 100,000 population. Rates among persons aged 65 years or older increased with age and were higher for males. Most TBIs resulted from fall- or motor vehicle (MV)-traffic-related incidents. Most older persons with TBI had an initial TBI severity of mild (73.4%); however, the proportions of both moderate and severe disability for those discharged alive and of in-hospital mortality were relatively high (23.5%, 9.7%, and 12%, respectively). Persons who fell were also more likely to have had 3 or more comorbid conditions than were those who sustained a TBI from an MV-traffic incident.

Conclusions: TBI is a substantial public health problem among older persons. As the population of older persons continues to increase in the United States, the need to design and implement proven and cost-effective prevention measures that focus on the leading causes of TBI (unintentional falls and MV-traffic incidents) becomes more urgent.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Intracranial Hemorrhage, Traumatic / etiology
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology