For over fifteen years, researchers at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh have been following a large population of adults admitted to hospital with traumatic brain injuries.
Recently, the Journal of Neurology, NeuroSurgery and Psychiatry, published a paper which looked at the mortality and morbidity fifteen years after hospital admission for patients who sustained a mild traumatic brain injury.
Dr. Tom McMillan and his colleagues designed a prospective case control record linkage study investigating the mortality rate in a population of Scottish adults admitted to hospital with mild traumatic brain injuries fifteen years post injury.
The study included 2,428 adults with mild traumatic brain injury and an equal number of community controls who were case-matched for age, gender and social depravation. The researchers also included a further control group admitted with non-brain injury that was also matched for duration of hospital admission. Any control member with a history of head injury prior to the study was excluded.
The researchers found that mortality in the mTBI group was higher than in the control group and other injury control group. They found that age at injury was important as younger adults (15-54) with mild brain injury had a 4.2 greater risk of death than the control group. In adults age over 54 the risk of death was 1.4 times higher. Repeated brain injury was also a risk factor for death in the mild traumatic brain injury group.
The researchers concluded, “Adults hospitalized with [mild traumatic brain injuries] had a greater risk of death in the following fifteen years in matched controls. The extent to which lifestyle and potential chronic changes in neuro pathology explain these findings is unclear. Lifestyle factors do contribute to risk of death after MHI and this finding has implications for lifestyle management interventions.”