There were 9,484 Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) in New Jersey during the calendar year 1997. These injuries were serious enough to require hospitalization or cause death with or without hospital care.
On an average day, three persons died of TBI and another 23 persons were treated and discharged from acute care hospitals in New Jersey.
The total number of TBIs in 1997 declined by 9.5% compared to the baseline year 1994. By outcome, there was an increase of 5.1% in the number of TBI-related deaths, and a decrease of 11.2% in non-fatal TBIs in 1997.
The decline in the number of non-fatal hospitalizations is attributed to a substantial decline in the number of fall-related TBIs, specifically of mild severity, while the increase in the number of fatal TBIs is attributed to a larger number of motor vehicle-related and other unintentional TBIs.
TBI-related deaths account for one-third of all injury deaths, and TBI-related hospitalizations account for 12% of all trauma admissions in New Jersey.
In 1997, there were 117.8 traumatic brain injuries per 100,000 population in the state. This number represents an 11.2% decline in the crude rate compared to the baseline year 1994. Rates varied by age, sex, severity, cause, outcome and county of residence.
Nearly two-thirds of TBIs occurred among males and almost one-third were under 25 years of age.
TBIs disproportionately affect the young (15-24 year olds), and the elderly (75 years and older). TBI rates declined since 1994 among all age groups except for persons 35-44 years and the oldest elderly, and the largest decline was among the younger age groups.
TBI rates were higher among males than females for TBI-related mortality and morbidity at all severity levels in all counties.
The leading causes of TBI, motor vehicle incidents and falls, accounted for nearly three out of four of the TBIs in New Jersey.
Traumatic brain injuries caused by firearms accounted for about 3% of the total incidence in 1997. The total number remained the same as the 1994 level.
A vast majority of the firearm TBIs were intentional (93.1%), resulted in fatalities (90.0%), and over half (55.9%) of these occurrences were in the age group 15 through 44 years.
During 1997, the total in-patient charges for TBI-related hospitalization alone amounted to over 180 million dollars for 61,753 in-patient care days. These figures do not include physician and rehabilitation costs.
In 1997, TBI-related hospitalization charges were 62.4% higher than the average for all injury-related hospitalizations ($20,347 vs. $12,527).