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Traumatic brain injury hospitalizations in Belgium

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:A brief overview of incidence, population characteristics, and outcomes
Background: There is a need for complete and accurate epidemiological studies for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Secondary use of administrative data can provide country-specific population data across the full spectrum of disease.

Aim: This study aims to provide a population-based overview of Belgian TBI hospital admissions as well as their health-related and employment outcomes.

Methods: A combined administrative dataset with deterministic linkage at individual level was used to assess all TBI hospitalizations in Belgium during the year 2016. Discharge data were used for patient selection and description of injuries. Claims data represented the health services used by the patient and health-related follow-up beyond hospitalization. Finally, social security data gave insight in changes to employment situation.

Results: A total of 17,086 patients with TBI were identified, with falls as the predominant cause of injury. Diffuse intracranial injury was the most common type of TBI and 53% had injuries to other body regions as well. In-hospital mortality was 6%. The median length of hospital stay was 2 days, with 20% being admitted to intensive care and 28% undergoing surgery. After hospitalization, 23% had inpatient rehabilitation. Among adults in the labor force pre-injury, 72% of patients with mild TBI and 59% with moderate-to-severe TBI returned to work within 1 year post-injury.

Discussion: Administrative data are a valuable resource for population research. Some limitations need to be considered, however, which can in part be overcome by enrichment of administrative datasets with other data sources such as from trauma registries.
Journal: Front Public Health
ISSN: 2296-2565
Volume: 10
Pages: 916133
Publication year:2022
Keywords:traumatic brain injury, epidemiology, incidence, outcome, administrative data, population-based studies