Trends in head injury incidence in New Zealand: a hospital-based study from 1997/1998 to 2003/2004

Neuroepidemiology. 2009;32(1):32-9. doi: 10.1159/000170090. Epub 2008 Nov 8.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of disability and death in young adults. Globally, the incidence of TBI hospitalizations is estimated at 200-300 people per 100,000 annually. Using a national health database, we examined the incidence of TBI-related hospital discharges (including 1-day stays) to New Zealand Hospitals from 1997/1998 to 2003/2004. Crude annual hospital-based incidence rates for the total population ranged from 226.9 per 100,000 in 1998/1999 to a high rate of 349.2 in 2002/2003. There was a noticeable increase in rates with the change from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnostic codes and there was also disparity in incidence rates according to ethnicity, age and gender. Crude annual hospital-based incidence rates for males and females in Maori (689/100,000 and 302.8/100,000 person-years) and Pacific Island populations (582.6/100,000 and 217.6/100,000 person-years) were much higher than those for the remaining population (435.4/100,000 and 200.9/100,000 person-years), particularly for males. The overall age-standardized hospital- based incidence rate for 2003/2004 was 342 per 100,000 per year (95% CI = 337-349/100,000), and 458 per 100,000 per year for Maori (95% CI = 438-479/100,000) with Maori males experiencing a peak in incidence between 30 and 34 years of age that was not evidenced for the wider population. Standardized hospital-based incidence rates for the total population and for Maori by age, gender and ICD-10 diagnostic codes are also examined.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / ethnology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / ethnology
  • Patient Discharge / trends*
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Young Adult