CDC Estimates 1.7 Million Traumatic Brain Injuries in U.S. Each Year

An estimated 1.7 million deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) occur in the United States each year, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, “Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Death,” is based on data collected from 2002 to 2006 and identifies the leading causes of TBI and incidence by age, race, and gender.

There were 52,000 deaths and 275,000 hospitalizations annually, the report said. Almost 1.4 million, or 80 percent, of the people who sustained a TBI were treated and released from an emergency department.

According to the report, TBIs contribute to nearly a third or 30.5 percent of injury-related deaths in the U.S.

The report said:

  • Children from birth to 4 years of age, older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, and adults 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI.
  • Falls are the leading cause of TBI (35.2 percent). Rates are highest for children from birth to 4 years and for adults 75 years and older.
  • Among all age groups, road traffic injury is the second leading cause of TBI (17.3 percent) and results in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths (31.8 percent).
  • In every age group, TBI rates are higher for males than for females.

“This report not only presents TBI numbers, it helps to show the impact of this injury nationwide,” said Richard C. Hunt, M.D., director of CDC’s Division for Injury Response. “These data can help to impact the lives of millions of Americans as they serve as building blocks that guide TBI prevention strategies. They also help to identify research and education priorities and support the need for services among individuals at risk or living with a TBI."

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI is an important public health issue that has far-reaching consequences impacting the daily lives of those injured as well as the lives of their families. Individuals with TBI may have short- or long-term consequences that affect thinking, perception, language, or emotions, and these consequences may not be readily apparent.

To download a free copy of the report and to learn more about TBIs, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/tbi_ed.html.

To learn more about CDC’s work in TBI, please link to: http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/index.html.

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