Survival after brain injury. Cause of death, length of survival, and prognostic variables in a cohort of brain-injured people

Neuroepidemiology. 1988;7(1):13-22. doi: 10.1159/000110131.


Injuries are the leading cause of death in the United States for those between 1 and 44 years of age and brain injuries are a major component of trauma. This report examines survival in a cohort of San Diego County, California, residents who incurred a brain injury in 1981. Cumulative risk of death over time, using the Cox Proportional Hazards Model, and predictors of death (determined by logistic regression) are used to evaluate survival. The results showed that about half of all brain-injured people who died, died in less than 2 h. Severe overall body damage and severe brain injury are the greatest causes of prehospital death. Even if they survived to the hospital, most people who die have brain injury as their underlying cause of death. Age as well as nature and severity of brain injury are the important predictors of in-hospital death. People who are discharged alive from the hospital have survival comparable to that of the population they came from. However, more die from trauma-related causes than would be expected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Brain Injuries / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Child
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Wounds, Gunshot / mortality