Traumatic Brain Injury–Related Hospitalizations and Deaths in Urban and Rural Counties—2017
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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Ann Emerg Med
    • Description:
      Study objective:

      A better understanding of differences in traumatic brain injury incidence by geography may help inform resource needs for local communities. This paper presents estimates on traumatic brain injury–related hospitalizations and deaths by urban and rural county of residence.


      To estimate the incidence of traumatic brain injury–related hospitalizations, data from the 2017 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s National Inpatient Sample were analyzed (n=295,760). To estimate the incidence of traumatic brain injury–related deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System multiple-cause-of-death files were analyzed (n=61,134). Datasets were stratified by residence, sex, principal mechanism of injury, and age group. Traumatic brain injury–related hospitalizations were also stratified by insurance status and hospital location.


      The rate of traumatic brain injury–related hospitalizations was significantly higher among urban (70.1 per 100,000 population) than rural residents (61.0), whereas the rate of traumatic brain injury–related deaths was significantly higher among rural (27.5) than urban residents (17.4). These patterns held for both sexes, individuals age 55 and older, and within the leading mechanisms of injury (ie, suicide, unintentional falls). Among patients with Medicare or Medicaid, the rate of traumatic brain injury–related hospitalizations was higher among urban residents; there was no urban/rural difference with other types of insurance. Nearly all (99.6%) urban residents who were hospitalized for a traumatic brain injury received care in an urban hospital. Additionally, approximately 80.3% of rural residents were hospitalized in an urban hospital.


      Urban residents had a higher rate of traumatic brain injury–related hospitalizations, whereas rural residents had a higher rate of traumatic brain injury–related deaths. This disparity deserves further study using additional databases that assess differences in mechanisms of injury and strategies to improve access to emergency care among rural residents.

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