December 8, 2023

Traumatic brain injury effectuates an alteration of brain function caused by a sudden external force or violent jolt. This injury’s characteristics are complicated because it is not a disease entity but comprise a collection of various causes, types of disorders, and severity. Hence, traumatic brain injury is a crucial concern across the world. It is considered the ‘silent epidemic,’ which contributes to either death or long-term permanent disability. Traumatic brain injury leaves a devastating impact on the patients and their family members.

Traumatic brain injury statistics on mortality

Over 69 million cases of traumatic brain injury are reported worldwide each year. It affects people of all ages and is prevalent in both high and low-income countries. Each year, around 1.5 million hospital admissions are registered solely related to traumatic brain injury in European countries. In the United States of America, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) has estimated that millions of American people experience traumatic injuries every year. Approximately 2% of Americans are living with disabilities related to traumatic brain injury.

In India, the cases of traumatic brain injury are highest in the world. Over 100,000 lives are lost each year, and over 1 million people suffer from severe head injuries. In a developing country like India, 1 out of 6 traumatic brain injury victims die, while in developed countries like the United States of America, this figure is 1 out of 200. The gap in figures speaks volumes. 

Around 50% of traumatic brain injury victims die within the first two to three hours of injury. The primary injury at the moment of impact leads to neurological damage in some parts of the head. However, the damage may progress with time. Secondary brain injury may cause disability and mortality. Hence, appropriate and early management of traumatic brain injury is important for the survival of the victims.

In about 7-10% of moderate traumatic injury cases, death or a persistent vegetative state is the outcome. In severe traumatic injury cases, the mortality rates are as high as 30-40%, while some percentage of the victims remain persistently in a vegetative state. Survivors of traumatic brain injury experience a substantial burden of not only physical but emotional, psychiatric, and cognitive disabilities. This disrupts their lives and of their families and loved ones. These disabilities are not restricted to severe injury cases and are frequently observed after moderate to mild traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury statistics on recovery

The recovery rate is high in cases of mild to moderate traumatic injury. Patients with mild injury tend to do well. Some mild to moderate traumatic injury patients may experience dizziness, headaches, and irritability for some days, but these symptoms improve gradually. Traumatic brain injury recovery statistics in moderate cases is approximately 60%, and about 25% of patients are left with some disability. The rest of the patients may have a severe disability.

Mild to moderate traumatic injury patients are discharged with good recovery, but some may have persistent neuropsychological deficits. The traumatic brain injury recovery statistics of severe cases have the worst aftermath, with only 25 to 33% positive outcomes. They show moderate-to-severe disability in about a sixth of patients.

These traumatic brain injury recovery statistics are true for closed head injuries. However, for penetrating head injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries because of handguns, the traumatic brain injury recovery statistics are applied differently. In gunshot wounds to the head patients, over 50% of the alive upon arrival at hospital cases cannot survive due to severe primary injuries. In patients with relatively mild-to-moderate injuries, the outcome is reasonably well, and in cases of intermediate severity from gunshot wounds, there is variability in outcomes.

However, even after several months of a traumatic brain injury, patients may show significant neuropsychological disabilities. So, once the patient leaves the hospital, rehabilitation programs are suggested. Patients can get benefits from such rehabilitation programs and may expedite further recovery. Prime candidates for the rehabilitation therapies are the ones with less severe initial injuries or those who have shown improvement.

For the patients who show slow recovery or are more seriously injured, rehabilitation therapy is much needed. Such patients need constant vigilance to improve their condition and prevent the gradual onset of respiratory status problems, joint mobility, skin integrity, infection, and other physiological functions. Those patients who show improved sufficiency or with moderate or mild injuries can opt for outpatient therapy. Thus, the rehabilitation centers for traumatic brain injury patients help in recovery and to relearn necessary life skills.