Author(s): Kerr ZY, Harmon KJ, Marshall SW, Proescholdbell SK, Waller AE
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a leading cause of injury morbidity and mortality in the United States. An estimated 1.7 million TBIs occur each year, and TBIs may lead to severe lifelong disability and death; even mild-to-moderate TBIs may have long-term consequences. North Carolina's population-wide data on TBIs are limited, so it is important to analyze the available data regarding TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits. METHODS: Statewide data on TBI-related ED visits were obtained from the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool (NC DETECT), an electronic public health surveillance system. Counts and rates were produced by sex, age, county of residence, disposition, mode of transport, and mechanism of injury. RESULTS: In 2010-2011, there were 140,234 TBI-related ED visits in North Carolina, which yields a rate of 7.3 ED visits per 1,000 person-years. The rate was higher for men (7.9 visits per 1,000 person-years) than for women (6.8 visits per 1,000 person-years). Rates were highest in individuals aged 0-4 years (13.1 visits per 1,000 person-years), 15-19 years (10.6 visits per 1,000 person-years), 75-79 years (11.3 visits per 1,000 person-years), 80-84 years (17.9 visits per 1,000 person-years), and 85 years or older (30.6 visits per 1,000 person-years). TBI-related ED visits were principally the result of falls (39.0\%), being struck by a person or object (17.6\%), or motor vehicle traffic-related crashes (14.1\%). LIMITATIONS: This study utilizes data collected primarily for administrative purposes, such as hospital billing. CONCLUSION: TBIs are a common cause of ED visits in North Carolina. These descriptive statistics demonstrate needs for statewide ED surveillance to monitor the incidence of TBIs and for the development of prevention strategies.
This article was published in N C Med J
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access