Death after head injury: the 13 year outcome of a case control study

Thomas M McMillan, Graham M Teasdale, Christopher J Weir, Elaine Stewart

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70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Head injury is common, and the risk of subsequent disability and death is high. Increased risk of death years after injury might be explained by factors associated with, but not a consequence of, the head injury. This unique prospective study investigates mortality over 13 years after injury.

METHODS: A cohort of n=767 with head injury was compared with two case control groups, matched for age, gender and deprivation, and in one control group, matched for duration of hospital admission following (non-head) injury.

RESULTS: Two-fifths of the head injury cohort had died. The death rate (30.99 per 1000 per year) was much higher than in community controls (13.72 per 1000 per year). More than 1 year after injury, the death rate in younger (15-54 years) adults was much higher than in community controls (17.36 vs. 2.36 per 1000 per year) whereas in older adults the difference was more marginal (61.47 vs. 42.36). Death rate was elevated after mild and after more severe head injury, including in younger adults after mild head injury (14.82 per 1000 per year mild head injury vs. 2.21 community). Female gender and greater deprivation were not associated with increased death rates after head injury. Late after injury, deaths occurred from the same main causes as for the general population.

CONCLUSION: Head injury is associated with increased vulnerability to death from a variety of causes for at least 13 years after hospital admission. There is a need to understand how head injury influences mortality, particularly in younger adults and after mild head injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-5
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry
Volume82
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cause of Death
  • Craniocerebral Trauma
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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