Head & Brain Injury Advice and Resources


Any TBI (Even Mild) Raises Your Risk of Death for 13 Years

In March 2011 researchers in Glasgow, Scotland, reported in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry that people with a of death for 13 years following their injury. They tracked 2,000 people (757 of whom had a Traumatic Brain Injury) who were admitted to one of five Glasgow hospitals between 1995-1996. They designated three groups to compare: the 757 admitted to the hospital for a TBI; 1,243 admitted for other reasons; and a third group of healthy people living in the community. All three groups were matched for age, gender, and socio-economic status.

In all, 40% of people (305) who had sustained a TBI of any severity were dead within 13 years of the event. This was higher than the rate among those admitted with other injuries (28%) and those in the community, almost one in five of whom died (19%). Although the heightened risk of death was highest in the first year after injury, it persisted for at least a further 12 years, when the head-injured were almost three times as likely to die of circulatory, respiratory, digestive, psychiatric and external causes as their community peers. As might be expected, those with more serious injuries were more likely to die than those with mild injuries during the critical first year. But those with mild head injury were also twice as likely to die.

More than a year later, the young and middle aged were far more likely to die than those who were older, when compared with those with no head injury. Deaths among those aged 15 to 54 were more than six times higher than rates among those without a head injury, irrespective of potentially influential factors, such as gender and level of deprivation. The researchers said, “The reason for greater vulnerability in younger adults is unclear, but requires further consideration, especially given the particularly higher risk of head injury in younger adults.”