To examine mortality among active duty US military service members (SMs) with the diagnosis of penetrating traumatic brain injury (PTBI) and a hospital admission between 2004 and 2014.
Data on SMs with PTBI and an admission to a military or civilian hospital were obtained from the 2004 to 2014 Military Health System data repository. After applying exclusion criteria, data on 1226 SMs were analyzed.
The number of observed deaths per 100 identified patients with PTBI and time to death from admission were used as main measures.
Approximately 25% of the 1226 patients with PTBI included in this study died following admission, with 44.6% of the all deaths occurring within a day following hospital admission and 75% occurring within the first week. Severe comorbid conditions and intentionally self-inflicted injuries are associated with higher mortality rate. SMs' gender, age, year of hospital admission, and service were significantly associated with likelihood of death following PTBI hospitalization. Males had a higher likelihood of dying following hospital admission compared with females (odds ratio = 2.7, confidence interval = 1.03-7.9). SMs in the 35- to 44-year-old and 45- to 64-year-old groups had up to a 2.6 times higher odds of death following their admission compared with the 25- to 34-year-old group. Age, admission year, service, and rank were significantly associated with SMs' time to death from hospitalization. Patients between the ages of 45 and 64 years were significantly more likely to die earlier than other age groups. Furthermore, cases in the Navy Afloat group had a higher fatality rate and were more likely to die earlier than patients in other services. PTBI comorbid conditions and injury type did not significantly affect time to death.
This study quantifies case fatality rate among hospitalized US SMs with the diagnosis of PTBI. We report a 23.1% crude case fatality rate among the current cohort. Early intensive care for these patients may be the key to improving survival rates.