Background: Anecdotal evidence suggests a rising trend in the occurrence of fall-related traumatic brain injuries (FR-TBI) among persons ≥ 70 years. To document this apparent trend on a more substantive basis, this report longitudinally describes overall and age-stratified rates of three outcomes attributed to FR-TBI among persons ≥ 70 years: emergency department visits (ED), hospitalizations, and terminal hospitalizations. Methods: Eight years (2000-2007) of observational data from emergency departments and acute care hospitals serving a non-randomly selected, densely populated region in southern Connecticut, U.S. Results: From 2000-2007 among persons 70 years and older, overall rates of FR-TBI visits to emergency departments more than doubled while corresponding rates of hospitalization and terminal hospitalization rose 58% each. The point estimate of growth in the rate of ED in the oldest stratum was nearly triple that of the younger stratum whereas point estimates of growth in rates of hospitalization and terminal hospitalization were nearly four times higher. Total Medicare costs for ED visits increased nearly four-fold while corresponding costs for hospitalizations and terminal hospitalizations rose by 64% and 76%. The most common discharge diagnoses for ED and hospitalization were unspecified head injury and intracranial hemorrhage. Conclusions: The rapid rise in rates of FR-TBI and associated Medicare costs underscore the urgent need to prevent this burgeoning source of human suffering and health care utilization. We believe the rise in rates is at least partially due to a greater public awareness of the outcome that has been facilitated by increasing use of diagnostic imaging in the ED and hospital.
Citation: Murphy TE, Baker DI, Leo-Summers LS, Tinetti ME (2014) Trends in Fall-Related Traumatic Brain Injury among Older Persons in Connecticut from 2000-2007. J Gerontol Geriat Res 3:168. doi: 10.4172/2167-7182.1000168