Silvia Canelón

Exploring Traumatic Brain Injury Mechanisms and Severity Using Electronic Health Records

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S Canelón1, R Morse1, M Boland1

  1. Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania


Objective. Often referred to as the “silent epidemic,” Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a public health concern contributing to disability and death worldwide. Our study describes a cohort of TBI patients within the PennMedicine health system and the distribution of TBI injury mechanisms and severity.

Methods. We obtained Electronic Health Record data for 1,060,100 female patients treated at PennMedicine inpatient or outpatient clinics from 2010-2017. We identified patients with TBI diagnoses using ICD-9/10 codes and the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Defense (DOD) definitions for TBI and TBI severity. The CDC/DOD codes for TBI were then manually annotated with mechanisms of TBI injury (e.g. Sport Mechanism of Injury, Collision or Crash, Foreign Body Object). The highest TBI severity category was noted for each patient and defined, in increasing severity, as “Mild,” “Moderate,” “Severe,” or “Penetrating.” We report the distribution of TBI mechanisms and severity among this patient population.

Results. There were 4,392 patients with a total of 9,800 TBI diagnoses. The majority of diagnoses in the cohort were Mild (5,704; 58%), followed by Moderate (3,840; 39%), Severe (173; 1.8%), and Penetrating (83; 0.8%). The following are the six most common mechanisms observed to contribute to TBI diagnoses: “Injury,” “Mechanism of Injury,” “Accidents,” “Physical Accidents,” “Fall Mechanism of Injury,” and “Traffic Vehicle Accident.”


Electronic Health Records, EHR, data mining, traumatic brain injury, TBI, TBI mechanisms, TBI severity

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