Causes of death following 1 year postinjury among individuals with traumatic brain injury

Cynthia Harrison-Felix, Gale Whiteneck, Michael J. DeVivo, Flora M. Hammond, Amitabh Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To investigate causes of death in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: Utilized data from the TBI Model Systems National Database, the Social Security Death Index, death certificates, and the US population age-race-gender-cause-specific mortality rates for 1994. PATIENTS: Two thousand one hundred forty individuals with TBI completing inpatient rehabilitation in 1 of 15 National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-funded TBI Model Systems of Care between 1988 and 2001, and surviving past 1 year postinjury. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary cause of death based on the International Classification of Diseases - 9th Revision - Clinical Modification - coded death certificates. RESULTS: Individuals with TBI were about 37 times more likely to die of seizures, 12 times more likely to die of septicemia, 4 times more likely to die of pneumonia, and about 3 times more likely to die of other respiratory conditions (excluding pneumonia), digestive conditions, and all external causes of injury/poisoning than were individuals in the general population of similar age, gender, and race. CONCLUSION: Long-term follow-up of individuals with TBI should increase vigilance for, and prevention of, diagnoses frequently causing death (circulatory disorders) and diagnoses with a high relative risk of causing death in this population (seizures, septicemia, respiratory and digestive conditions, and external causes of injury).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-33
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Causes of death
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology

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