Increasing incidence of ED-visits and admissions due to traumatic brain injury among elderly patients in the Netherlands, 2011–2020

Juliette A.L. Santing*, Crispijn L.Van Den Brand, Martien J.M. Panneman, J. Susanne Asscheman, Joukje van der Naalt, Korné Jellema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background and importance: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of disability and mortality worldwide. Nowadays the highest combined incidence of TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations and deaths occurs in older adults. Knowledge of the changing patterns of epidemiology is essential to identify targets to enhance prevention and management of TBI. 

Objective: To examine time trends of ED visits, admissions, and mortality for TBI comparing non-elderly and elderly people (aged ≥ 65 years) in the Netherlands from 2011 to 2020. 

Design: We conducted a retrospective observational, longitudinal study of TBI using data from the Dutch Injury Surveillance System (DISS) and Statistics Netherlands from 2011 to 2020. 

Outcome measure and analysis: The main outcome measures were TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and mortality. Temporal trends in population-based incidence rates were evaluated using Poisson regression. We compared patients under 65 years and patients aged 65 years or older. 

Main results: From 2011 to 2020, absolute numbers of TBI related ED visits increased by 244%, and hospital admissions and mortality showed an almost twofold increase in patients aged 65 years and older. The incidence of TBI-related ED visits and hospital admission increased also in elderly adults, with 156% and 51% respectively, whereas the mortality remained stable. In contrast, overall rates of ED visits, admissions, and mortality, and causes for TBI did not change in patients younger than 65 years during the study period. 

Conclusion: This trend analysis shows a significant increase of ED-visits and hospital admission for TBI in elderly adults from 2011 to 2020, whereas the mortality remained stable. This increase cannot be explained by the aging of the Dutch population alone, but might be related to comorbidities, causes of injury, and referral policy. These findings strengthen the development of strategies to prevent TBI and improve the organization of acute care necessary to reduce the impact and burden of TBI in elderly adults and on healthcare and society.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110902
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2023


  • Admission
  • ED visit
  • Elderly adults
  • Mortality
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Trend analysis


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