Causes of death following 1 year postinjury among individuals with traumatic brain injury

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2006 Jan-Feb;21(1):22-33. doi: 10.1097/00001199-200601000-00003.


Objective: To investigate causes of death in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Setting: Utilized data from the TBI Model Systems National Database, the Social Security Death Index, death certificates, and the US population age-race-gender-cause-specific mortality rates for 1994.

Patients: Two thousand one hundred forty individuals with TBI completing inpatient rehabilitation in 1 of 15 National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-funded TBI Model Systems of Care between 1988 and 2001, and surviving past 1 year postinjury.

Main outcome measures: Primary cause of death based on the International Classification of Diseases--9th Revision--Clinical Modification-coded death certificates.

Results: Individuals with TBI were about 37 times more likely to die of seizures, 12 times more likely to die of septicemia, 4 times more likely to die of pneumonia, and about 3 times more likely to die of other respiratory conditions (excluding pneumonia), digestive conditions, and all external causes of injury/poisoning than were individuals in the general population of similar age, gender, and race.

Conclusion: Long-term follow-up of individuals with TBI should increase vigilance for, and prevention of, diagnoses frequently causing death (circulatory disorders) and diagnoses with a high relative risk of causing death in this population (seizures, septicemia, respiratory and digestive conditions, and external causes of injury).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / mortality*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Digestive System Diseases / complications
  • Digestive System Diseases / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / complications
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / complications
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Suicide
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology