Falls occur frequently in older adults. With ageing populations worldwide, an increase in fall-related traumatic head injuries can be expected. The aim of our study was to determine trends in traumatic head-injury-related hospitalizations among older adults. Therefore, a secular trend analysis of fall-related traumatic head injuries in the older Dutch population between 1986 and 2008 was performed, using the National Hospital Discharge Registry. All significant fall-related traumatic head injury hospitalizations in persons aged ≥65 years were extracted from this database. During the study period, traumatic head-injury-related hospitalizations increased by 213% to 3,010 in 2008. The incidence rate increased annually by 1.2% (95% CI: 0.6; 1.9) between 1986 and 2000. Since 2001, the increase has accelerated up to 11.6% (95% CI: 9.5; 13.8) per year. Overall, the age-adjusted incidence rate increased from 53.1 in 1986 to 119.1 per 100,000 older persons in 2008. Age-specific incidence rates increased in all age groups, especially in persons aged ≥85 years. Despite an overall reduction in the length of hospital stay per admission, the total number of hospital-bed-days increased with 31.5% to 20,250 between 1991 and 2008. In conclusion, numbers and incidence rates of significant traumatic head-injury-related hospitalization after a fall are increasing rapidly in the older Dutch population, especially in the oldest old, resulting in an increased health care demand. The recent increase might be explained by the ageing population, but also other factors may have contributed to the increase, such as an increased awareness of traumatic head injuries, the implementation of renewed guidelines for traumatic head injuries, and improved radiographic tools.

Additional Metadata
Keywords guidelines, hospitalizations, older adults, time trend, traumatic head injuries
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1089/neu.2010.1488, hdl.handle.net/1765/25565
Series Surgery and Traumatology
Journal Journal of Neurotrauma
Hartholt, K.A, van Lieshout, E.M.M, Polinder, S, Panneman, M.J.M, van der Cammen, T.J.M, & Patka, P. (2011). Rapid increase in hospitalizations resulting from fall-related traumatic head injury in older adults in the Netherlands 1986-2008. Journal of Neurotrauma, 28(5), 739–744. doi:10.1089/neu.2010.1488