Traumatic brain injury epidemiology in Europe
In 2018 a systematic review provided a comprehensive, up-to-date summary of traumatic brain injury (TBI) epidemiology in Europe, describing incidence, mortality, age, and sex distribution, plus severity, mechanism of injury, and time trends. PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Web of Science were searched in January 2015 for observational, descriptive, English language studies reporting incidence, mortality, or case fatality of TBI in Europe. There were no limitations according to date, age, or TBI severity. Methodological quality was assessed using the Methodological Evaluation of Observational Research checklist. Data were presented narratively. Sixty-six studies were included in the review. Country-level data were provided in 22 studies, regional population or treatment center catchment area data were reported by 44 studies. Crude incidence rates varied widely. For all ages and TBI severities, crude incidence rates ranged from 47.3 per 100,000, to 694 per 100,000 population per year (country-level studies) and 83.3 per 100,000, to 849 per 100,000 population per year (regional-level studies). Crude mortality rates ranged from 9 to 28.10 per 100,000 population per year (country-level studies), and 3.3 to 24.4 per 100,000 population per year (regional-level studies.) The most common mechanisms of injury were traffic accidents and falls. Over time, the contribution of traffic accidents to total TBI events may be reducing. Case ascertainment and definitions of TBI are variable. Improved standardization would enable more accurate comparisons 1).
In 2016 aimed to estimate the hospital-based incidence, population-wide mortality, and the contribution of TBI to injury-related mortalities in European countries, and to provide European summary estimates for these indicators.
For this cross-sectional analysis, we obtained population data from Eurostat for hospital discharges and causes of death in European countries in 2012. Outcomes of interest were TBIs that required hospital admission or were fatal. We calculated age-adjusted hospital discharge rates and mortality rates and extrapolated data to 28 European Union countries and all 48 states in Europe. We present between-country comparisons, pooled age-adjusted rates, and comparisons with all-injury rates.
In 2012, 1 375 974 hospital discharges (data from 24 countries) and 33 415 deaths (25 countries) related to TBI were identified. The pooled age-adjusted hospital discharge rate was 287·2 per 100 000 (95% CI 232·9-341·5) and the pooled age-adjusted mortality rate was 11·7 per 100 000 (9·9-13·6). TBI caused 37% (95% CI 36-38) of all injury-related deaths in the analysed countries. Extrapolating our results, we estimate 56 946 (95% CI 47 286-66 099) TBI-related deaths and 1 445 526 (1 172 996-1 717 039) hospital discharges occurred in 2012 in the European Union (population 508·5 million) and about 82 000 deaths and about 2·1 million hospital discharges in the whole of Europe (population 737 million). We noted substantial between-country differences.
TBI is an important cause of death and hospital admissions in Europe. The substantial between-country differences observed warrant further study and suggest that the true burden of TBI in Europe has not yet been captured. Rigorous epidemiological studies are needed to fully quantify the effect of TBI on society. Despite a great degree of consistency in data reporting across countries already being achieved, further efforts in this respect could improve the validity of between-country comparisons 2).
In 2015 a total, 28 epidemiological studies on TBI from 16 European countries were identified in the literature. A great variation was found in case definitions and case ascertainment between studies. Falls and road traffic accidents (RTA) were the two most frequent causes of TBI, with falls being reported more frequently than RTA 3).
A search was conducted in the PubMed electronic database using the terms: epidemiology, incidence, brain injur*, head injur* and Europe. Only articles published in English and reporting on data collected in Europe between 1990 and 2014 were included. In total, 28 epidemiological studies on TBI from 16 European countries were identified in the literature. A great variation was found in case definitions and case ascertainment between studies. Falls and road traffic accidents (RTA) were the two most frequent causes of TBI, with falls being reported more frequently than RTA. In most of the studies a peak TBI incidence was seen in the oldest age groups. In the meta-analysis, an overall incidence rate of 262 per 100,000 for admitted TBI was derived.
Interpretation of published epidemiologic studies is confounded by differences in inclusion criteria and case ascertainment. Nevertheless, changes in epidemiological patterns are found: falls are now the most common cause of TBI, most notably in elderly patients. Improvement of the quality of standardised data collection for TBI is mandatory for reliable monitoring of epidemiological trends and to inform appropriate targeting of prevention campaigns 4).
In 2006 it was difficult to reach a consensus on all epidemiological findings across the 23 published European studies because of critical differences in methods employed across the reports 5).
In a retrospective, longitudinal study of all TBI patients treated in ICU between 2013-2018, 77% (n=171) were male and the median age was 46 (Q1-Q3: 28-62). The most common mechanism of injury was fall from less than two meters (<2m) followed by road traffic accidents (RTA). The proportion of injuries due to RTA increased over the six-year period (p=0.006). 41.4% (n=92) of injuries had reported alcohol involvement. Patients with falls <2m had double the median age and double the rate of alcohol involvement compared to those suffering RTA (p<0.001, p<0.001). The neurosurgical intervention rate was 74% (n=165). The median duration of ICU admission and of intracranial pressure monitoring, advanced ventilation, and inotropic therapy increased over the six-year period (p=0.031, p=0.038, p=0.033, p<0.001). This study’s findings could inform precise and impactful public prevention measures. The increasing duration of ICU admission and of other interventions should be examined further for their effect on patient outcomes and resource consumption 6).
A coordinated strategy to evaluate this public health problem in Romania would first of all rely on a related advanced monitoring system, to provide precise information about the epidemiology, clinical and paraclinical data, but concerning the social and economic connected consequences, too 7).