Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the demography and epidemiology of Finnish patients with TBI and to analyse the representativeness of a study sample.
Materials and methods: This prospective multi-centre study was conducted as part of an international collaboration within the EU-funded TBIcare project. The study group was recruited from patients attending the regional emergency department (ED) of the Turku University Hospital, Finland. Pre-defined exclusion criteria included age < 18 years, more than 2 weeks from the injury and uncertain diagnosis of TBI. To be included, a need for an acute head CT (NICE-criteria) was required.
Results: Of the 620 patients with TBI or suspected TBI, 203 patients were recruited to the study. Falls were the most common injury mechanism. The study group included more males than the total eligible population (p = 0.011), but no other statistical differences were found. The most common cause for being excluded was lack of information available to the research group before discharge (34%).
Conclusion: This study supports previous findings that falls are the most common injury mechanism in the Western countries. Uncertainty about the diagnosis of TBI, lack of representativeness without continuous recruitment and poor information transfer about the ED attendees are major challenges for prospective TBI studies.
Keywords: Closed head injury; demographics; epidemiology; traumatic brain injury.