Objective: To estimate the prevalence of long-term disability associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the civilian population of the United States.
Methods: We first estimated how many people experienced long-term disability from TBI each year in the past 70 years. Then, accounting for the increased mortality among TBI survivors, we estimated their life expectancy and calculated how many were expected to be alive in 2005.
Results: An estimated 1.1% of the US civilian population or 3.17 million people (95% CI: 3.02–3.32 million) were living with a long-term disability from TBI at the beginning of 2005. Under less conservative assumptions about TBI's impact on lifespan, this estimate is 3.32 million (95% CI: 3.16–3.48 million).
Conclusion: Substantial long-term disability occurs among the US civilians hospitalized with a TBI.