Years of life lost because of gunshot injury to the brain and spinal cord

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Aug;87(8):609-15; quiz 615-8. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31817fb496.


Objective: A recent study (Lemaire) estimated the life expectancy loss attributable to gun deaths at 103.6 days for the overall U.S. population: 150.7 days for white males and 361.5 days for black males. This study estimates the life expectancy loss attributable to the premature death of individuals who initially survived gun-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI) in the United States.

Design: Interpersonal TBI data were drawn from a surveillance system, and self-inflicted TBI data were obtained from the Web-based Injury Statistics and Reporting System. SCI data were obtained from a national database. Multiple decrement analysis was used to calculate the days of life lost to gunshot wounds to the brain and spinal cord, by race and gender, in the United States.

Results: On average, across age, gender, and race, life expectancy in the United States is reduced by 3.1 days because of the shorter lifespan for individuals who survive an initial gunshot wound to the brain or spinal cord. Black males bear a disproportionate burden, losing 9.5 days, whereas white males lose 4.6 days. Black and white females lose 1.5 and 1.0 days, respectively.

Conclusions: We add these findings to the Lemaire study, resulting in a total of 106.7 days of life expectancy loss from gunshot wounds for the U.S. population, with 371.0 days of life lost for black males.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Penetrating / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Life Expectancy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Distribution
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / mortality*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality*