Interplay between traumatic brain injury and intimate partner violence: data driven analysis utilizing electronic health records

BMC Womens Health. 2020 Dec 7;20(1):269. doi: 10.1186/s12905-020-01104-4.


Background: It is estimated that a majority of intimate partner violence (IPV) victims suffer from blunt force to the head, neck and the face area. Injuries to head and neck are among the major causes for traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Methods: In this interdisciplinary study, we aimed to characterize the key associations between IPV and TBI by mining de-identified electronic health records data with more than 12 M records between 1999 to 2017 from the IBM Explorys platform. For this purpose, we formulated a data-driven analytical framework to identify significant health correlates among IPV, TBI and six control cohorts. Using this framework, we assessed the co-morbidity, shared prevalence, and synergy between pairs of conditions.

Results: Our findings suggested that health effects attributed to malnutrition, acquired thrombocytopenia, post-traumatic wound infection, local infection of wound, poisoning by cardiovascular drug, alcoholic cirrhosis, alcoholic fatty liver, and drug-induced cirrhosis were highly significant at the joint presence of IPV and TBI.

Conclusion: To develop a better understanding of how IPV is related to negative health effects, it is potentially useful to determine the interactions and relationships between symptom categories. Our results can potentially improve the accuracy and confidence of existing clinical screening techniques on determining IPV-induced TBI diagnoses.

Keywords: Blunt force; Cohort study; Data mining; Domestic violence; Electronic health records; Intimate partner violence; Traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / epidemiology
  • Data Analysis
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence* / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence