Life Expectancy after Inpatient Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States

Cynthia Harrison-Felix, Christopher Pretz, Flora M. Hammond, Jeffrey P. Cuthbert, Jeneita Bell, John Corrigan, A. Cate Miller, Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


This study characterized life expectancy after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The TBI Model Systems (TBIMS) National Database (NDB) was weighted to represent those ≥16 years of age completing inpatient rehabilitation for TBI in the United States (US) between 2001 and 2010. Analyses included Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMRs), Cox regression, and life expectancy. The US mortality rates by age, sex, race, and cause of death for 2005 and 2010 were used for comparison purposes. Results indicated that a total of 1325 deaths occurred in the weighted cohort of 6913 individuals. Individuals with TBI were 2.23 times more likely to die than individuals of comparable age, sex, and race in the general population, with a reduced average life expectancy of 9 years. Independent risk factors for death were: older age, male gender, less-than-high school education, previously married at injury, not employed at injury, more recent year of injury, fall-related TBI, not discharged home after rehabilitation, less functional independence, and greater disability. Individuals with TBI were at greatest risk of death from seizures; accidental poisonings; sepsis; aspiration pneumonia; respiratory, mental/behavioral, or nervous system conditions; and other external causes of injury and poisoning, compared with individuals in the general population of similar age, gender, and race. This study confirms prior life expectancy study findings, and provides evidence that the TBIMS NDB is representative of the larger population of adults receiving inpatient rehabilitation for TBI in the US. There is an increased risk of death for individuals with TBI requiring inpatient rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1893-1901
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • brain injury, chronic
  • life expectancy
  • mortality
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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  • Cite this

    Harrison-Felix, C., Pretz, C., Hammond, F. M., Cuthbert, J. P., Bell, J., Corrigan, J., Miller, A. C., & Haarbauer-Krupa, J. (2015). Life Expectancy after Inpatient Rehabilitation for Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States. Journal of neurotrauma, 32(23), 1893-1901.