Causes and patterns of adult traumatic head injuries in Saudi Arabia: implications for injury prevention

Ann Saudi Med. 2013 Jul-Aug;33(4):351-5. doi: 10.5144/0256-4947.2013.351.


Background and objectives: Data on the epidemiology of traumatic head injuries (THI) is essential for any organized prevention program. Such data are few in the developing world. Our primary goal was to study the causes, descriptive features, and outcomes of THI in adults in Saudi Arabia.

Design and settings: The present study is a retrospective review.

Methods: This retrospective review included all consecutive cases of adults with THI ( > 18 years) who were admitted to a major trauma centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from May 2001 to July 2010. Patients were identified through a trauma database, which includes cases that required hospital admission or died in the emergency department.

Results: A total of 1870 patients met the inclusion criteria with a mean age of 32.6 years and a male predominance (91.2%). Most injuries were secondary to motor vehicle collisions (MVC; 69.4%). Pedestrian injuries were second (16.8%) and had 40% risk of mortality (odds ratio 0.62, 95% CI 0.48-0.8). Most patients (56.7%) had a severe THI (Glasgow coma score, GCS < 8). The overall mortality rate was 30%. Mortality was significantly associated with older age (P=.0001), lower GCS (P=.0001), and a higher injury severity score (ISS; P=.0001).

Conclusion: The most common causes of hospital admission following injury were MVC and pedestrian injuries. Both were also the most common causes for injury-related deaths. Safety on the roads should be the primary target for any organized injury prevention programs to be successful.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Trauma Centers
  • Young Adult