Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by an external force (QBI 2021). Common causes of TBIs include falls, transport accidents, and contact with an object or a collision with another person, such as while playing sport.

Clinicians classify TBIs according to severity, with most TBIs being mild or moderate.

Common symptoms of mild TBI are headaches, dizziness, fatigue, sleep disturbance, problems with memory or concentration, and blurred vision (QBI 2021). Concussion is one of the most well-known types of mild-severity TBIs.

Symptoms of moderate or severe TBI include slurred speech, confusion, seizures, persistent headaches, and loss of consciousness (QBI 2021).

The health consequences of TBI range from short-term to life-long, and in a minority of cases, result in death.

Incidence of TBI in Australia

Estimates of the incidence of TBI vary, in part due to the use of different inclusion criteria and methodology. Published estimates include the AIHW’s Australia-wide estimate of 107 hospitalisations per 100,000 population (1999–00 to 2004–05 data) (AIHW 2008), and a study of hospitalisations in 2007 in New South Wales, that estimated a hospitalisation rate of 99 per 100,000 population (Pozzato et al. 2019).

The project

This project was conceived as an exploration of an emerging linked data source, the National Integrated Health Services Information Analysis Asset (NIHSI AA).

The main aim of this project is to demonstrate insights into the type of health care used and pathways for patients with TBI. Due to the limited geographic coverage of the 0.5 version of the NIHSI (4 Australian jurisdictions) and the age of the data, this publication is not intended to provide a current national view of TBI in Australia.

Data are presented both from a patient pathway perspective (for example, number of patients) and a health service perspective (for example, number of services), however the patient pathway perspective is prioritised in this web report. The accompanying data tables provide more detailed supplementary data from both perspectives that are not included in the web report due to space constraints.