VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY

NATIONAL RESOURCE CENTER
FOR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Neuropsychology and Rehabilitation Psychology Division Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Statistics

QUESTION:
What are some good sources of statistical information on brain injury (incidence, prevalence, causes, etc.)?

ANSWER
Good sources of information and some of the most reliable statistics on brain injury include:

(1) The Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Department of Education, Washington, D.C. The TBI Model Systems National Data Center is located at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. Sixteen Model Systems programs are located across the United States.

(2) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a federal agency that conducts and supports health promotion, prevention and preparedness activities in the United States, with the goal of improving overall public health.

(3) The National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, maintains a vast amount of data on disability and rehabilitation. Contact NARIC at 8455 Colesville Road, Suite 935, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-3319 / Phone: (800) 346-2742 or (301) 588-9284.

(4) The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives has information on a variety of neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and alcohol/drug abuse. Statistics on brain injuries/anomalies, as well as information on current research are available. Contact the Dana Alliance at 1001 G Street, N.W., Suite 1025, Washington, D.C. 20001 / Phone: (202) 737-9200 or 745 Fifth Avenue, Suite 700, New York, New York 10151 / Phone: (212) 223-4040.


QUESTION:
How many brain injuries occur in the United States annually?

ANSWER
In 2013, the CDC reported a total of approximately 2.8 million TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (TBI-EDHDs) occurred in the United States. Of them, 50,000 die, 282,000 are hospitalized, and 2.5 million, nearly 90%, are treated and released from an emergency department. The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown. TBI is a contributing factor to a third (30%) of all injury-related deaths in the United States. Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI. Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions. Direct medical costs and indirect costs of TBI, such as lost productivity, totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in 2000.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control, & Prevention. (2017). Traumatic Brain Injury–Related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths — United States, 2007 and 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Surveillance Summaries, 66(9), 1–16.
  2. Centers for Disease Control, & Prevention. (2003). Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: Steps to prevent a serious public health problem. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/mtbireport-a.pdf


QUESTION:
How many brain injuries occur each year in Virginia? Of these how many result in severe disability?

ANSWER
Virginia is one of the few states which operates a brain injury registry to which all hospitals in the Commonwealth are required by law to report. The Virginia Brain Injury Central Registry was established in 1984 to collect information on all individuals treated at Virginia hospitals for brain injury, whether they are treated in the Emergency Room or admitted. The registry attempts to collect data on all injuries which are likely to result in long-term or permanent disability, including diagnoses of "mild head injury," "closed head injury," and "concussion." Although reporting is mandated by Virginia law and hospitals are generally cooperative and diligent about reporting, the registry is not a precise or scientifically reliable measure of incidence of brain injury in Virginia. Hospitals make mistakes in reporting, mild brain injuries are undiagnosed and under-reported, and there is no validation of the data collected (e.g., a margin of error is not identified).

Although it is flawed, the Virginia Brain Injury Central Registry is the best indicator of brain injury incidence that we have in the Commonwealth. Based on totals for past years, it is estimated that roughly 10,000 new injuries are reported by hospitals each year. Of those who survive their injuries, an overwhelming majority are reported as mild (according to Glasgow Coma Scores which fall in the 13-15 range). National estimates of brain injury incidence and severity bear this out, as well; and most of these mild injuries resolve. Virginia's registry is service-oriented rather than surveillance-oriented registry and efforts to improve the Virginia Brain Injury Central Registry are ongoing.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) can also be used as resource for state-specific traumatic brain injury numbers. Their most recent data brief reports that in 2014, traumatic brain injuries accounted for approximately one-third of all injury-related deaths to Virginia residents each year, and roughly 15% of all injury-related inpatient, acute care hospitalizations. TBI deaths and hospitalization rates varied by region in Virginia with 2014 with the Central region having the highest rates (80.5 per 100,000) and the Northern region having the lowest (44.6 per 100,000). The leading cause of TBI-related death in Virginia between 2010 and 2014 was firearms (3,008 deaths), followed by motor vehicle traffic (1,928 deaths) and falls (1,616 deaths). The leading cause of TBI-related hospitalization in the same period was falls (12,980 hospitalizations), followed by motor vehicle traffic (6,163 hospitalizations), and struck by/against injuries (1,402 hospitalizations).

The VDH's 2017 traumatic brain injury data brief may be accessed here and the Virginia Online Injury Reporting System (VOIRS) by be accessed by clicking here.

Annual Aggregated Counts of TBI Status Injury Hospitalization from the VOIRS are as follows:

2016 - 5078 Reported TBI-Status Hospitalizations in Virginia

2015 - 5208 Reported TBI-Status Hospitalizations in Virginia

2014 - 5175 Reported TBI-Status Hospitalizations in Virginia

2013 - 5016 Reported TBI-Status Hospitalizations in Virginia

2012 - 4765 Reported TBI-Status Hospitalizations in Virginia

2011 - 4801 Reported TBI-Status Hospitalizations in Virginia

2010 - 4795 Reported TBI-Status Hospitalizations in Virginia


For more scientifically sound statistics on brain injury, see the FAQ regarding sources of statistical information.

References

  1. CDC Injury Center. Basic Information about Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion. https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/basics.html.
  2. Division of Population Health Data. Resident death certificate data from Virginia Vital Records database. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Health; 2016.
  3. Division of Population Health Data. Resident hospital discharge data from Virginia Health Information database. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Health; 2016.

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