Firearm-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Homicides in the United States, 2000-2019
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Firearm-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Homicides in the United States, 2000-2019

Public Access Version Available on: July 01, 2024, 12:00 AM
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      Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of homicide-related death in the United States. Penetrating TBI associated with firearms is a unique injury with an exceptionally high mortality rate that requires specialized neurocritical trauma care.


      To report incidence patterns of firearm-related and nonfirearm-related TBI homicides in the United States between 2000 and 2019 by demographic characteristics to provide foundational data for prevention and treatment strategies.


      Data were obtained from multiple cause of death records from the National Vital Statistics System using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database for the years 2000 to 2019. Number, age-adjusted rates, and percent of firearm and nonfirearm-related TBI homicides by demographic characteristics were calculated. Temporal trends were also evaluated.


      During the study period, there were 77 602 firearm-related TBI homicides. Firearms were involved in the majority (68%) of all TBI homicides. Overall, men, people living in metro areas, and non-Hispanic Black persons had higher rates of firearm-related TBI homicides. The rate of nonfirearm-related TBI homicides declined by 40%, whereas the rate of firearm-related TBI homicides only declined by 3% during the study period. There was a notable increase in the rate of firearm-related TBI homicides from 2012/2013 through 2019 for women (20%) and nonmetro residents (39%).


      Firearm-related violence is an important public health problem and is associated with the majority of TBI homicide deaths in the United States. The findings from this study may be used to inform prevention and guide further research to improve treatment strategies directed at reducing TBI homicides involving firearms.

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