Head injury poses highest death risk for A&E patients
People admitted to hospital with a head injury are twice as likely to die over the next decade regardless of its severity, say researchers.
Around 40% of people admitted to hospital with head injuries died from a range of causes over 13 years, compared with 19% of people in the community and 28% of those who had visited hospital with other injuries, a study found.
More than 760 people with head injuries were examined and compared with similar-sized groups for the research.The death rate was noted as being “much higher” than the normal population.
And the younger the adult, the higher the risk.
The authors of the report, from the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, said: “More than one year after injury, the death rate in younger (15 to 54 years) adults was much higher than in community controls (17.36 vs 2.36 per 1,000 per year) whereas in older adults the difference was more marginal (61.47 vs 42.36).”
There was also evidence that the death rate remained higher irrespective of whether the injury sustained was mild or severe.
The researchers said: “Head injury is associated with increased vulnerability to death from a variety of causes for at least 13 years after hospital admission.
“There is a need to understand how head injury influences mortality, particularly in younger adults and after mild head injury.”
Head injury accounts for most deaths from trauma in young adults.
- McMilan TM, et al. Death after head injury: the 13 year outcome of a case control study.Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 2011; Online first.