(HealthDay News) — From 2006–2010, there was a considerable increase in emergency department visits for traumatic brain injury (TBI), with the rate of increase much higher than total emergency department visits, according to a research letter published in the May 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jennifer R. Marin, MD, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues used data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample database to describe national trends in emergency department visits for TBI from 2006–2010.

The researchers found that visits for TBI increased by 29.1%, from 637 per 100,000 person-years in 2006 to 822 per 100,000 person-years in 2010. During the same period, total emergency department visits increased by 3.6% (P=0.002 comparing TBI and total emergency department visits). Most of the increase in TBI incidence occurred in visits coded as concussion or unspecified head injury. The largest increases in TBI rates were seen for children < 3 years and for adults >60 years.

“Between 2006–2010, the rate of increase in TBI visits was eight-fold more than the rate of increase of total emergency department visits,” the authors write. “This increase in TBI visits, largely due to increased visits for concussion and unspecified head injury, may reflect a variety of factors, including increased TBI exposure, awareness, diagnoses, or a combination.”

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