Mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: demographics, brain imaging procedures, health-care utilization and costs

Brain Injury, 2019


To characterize mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) patients in the USA, describing location of diagnosis, timing, and modality of imaging procedures, health-care resource utilization (HRU) and costs in the 12-month period post-diagnosis. 

Research Design

Retrospective claims analysis 


Anonymized data from the OptumHealth Care Solutions claims database (2006-2016). The index date was the first date with an mTBI diagnosis. HRU and costs (2016 USD) were assessed in the 12-month post-index period. 


A total of 80,004 patients with mTBI were included: 60% were under 26 years and 54% were male. Mild TBI was most frequently diagnosed in an emergency department (ED) for all age groups, except patients aged 11-17 years, for whom the outpatient setting was the most frequent place of diagnosis. Almost half (47%) received brain imaging on the index date, with 98% of which receiving computed tomography. Mean follow-up health-care costs were $13,564 (SD = $41,071), primarily from inpatient ($4,675, SD = $29,982) and non-ED outpatient/physician office visits ($4,207, SD = $12,697). Older patients had greater HRU and higher health-care costs. 


The findings of this claims-based study show substantial HRU and costs associated with mTBI diagnosis during a 12-month follow-up period.

View abstract


Pavlov V, Thompson-Leduc P, Zimmer L, Wen J, Shea J, Beyhaghi H, Toback S, Kirson N, Miller M