Objective: To estimate the magnitude and relative importance of hospital treatment costs and productivity losses caused by traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Patients: A total of 155 patients with new TBI diagnoses admitted to Turku University Hospital were systematically sampled.
Methods: Hospital costs were determined by collecting detailed data from patient records and applying the actual cost from the hospital administration. For estimating the productivity losses, the age of retirement was adjusted according to the age- and sex-specific retirement probability.
Results: Median treatment costs per TBI patient were €5429, surgery €1600 and other costs €3651. Overall treatment costs for severe brain injuries were significantly (p < 0.01) higher than for less severe cases. Median production losses due to early retirement were estimated to be €1.19 million per TBI patient, significantly (p < 0.03) lower among less severe than among the severe cases. Age, sex and severity of TBI could explain only 9% of the variation in treatment costs, but explained 73% of the variation in production losses.
Conclusions: Indirect productivity losses form the great majority of the overall economic burden of TBI to society. The direct treatment costs in tertiary level hospitals also impose a considerable burden on the healthcare sector.