Head injuries in Leeds: changes in epidemiology and survival over 12 years

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To map the pattern of survival and epidemiology of patients admitted to accident and emergency, at a regional neurosciences unit with an isolated head injury, over a 12 year period.


The TARN database of a regional neuroscience referral centre was analysed to identify patients who where admitted after a significant, isolated head injury between January 1990 and December 2001. Demographic data about the patient and nature and cause of the injury were extracted and survival was mapped over the time period. Statistical analysis was performed to identify change in survival.


There were 810 eligible patients. The most common cause of injury was road traffic accident (47%) with an average of 42.6% patients transferred from other hospitals. The most common disposal of patients was to an intensive care unit (35%). There was an overall increase in the number of patients but survival did not increase over the time period. Mean survival was 81.8% and overall survival decreased from 95.0% in 1990 to 81.6% in 2001, although this did not represent significant change (p = 0.990).


Short term survival after significant head injury has not changed significantly over the 12 year period studied. No subset of patients is having a disproportionate effect on survival but in patients aged over 75, survival increased significantly. Further multicentre work is indicated to map a more accurate clinical picture of head injury survival.

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