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BMJ Open. 2012; 2(5): e001521.
Published online 2012 October 26. doi:  10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001521
PMCID: PMC3488711

Health service use in adults 20–64 years with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or pelvic fracture. A cohort study with 9-year follow-up



To estimate the health service use over 9 years after the injury year for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI) and pelvic fracture (PF), and compare with non-injured.


A register-based cohort design with a 9-year follow-up period.


The Danish population.


The study included 434, 100 and 278 hospital-treated incident patients with TBI, SCI and PF, respectively, among 20-year-olds to 64-year-olds identified using the National Patient Register. Controls for each patient group were drawn from the population register, matched by age, sex and health service use during 1995. All were followed during 1996–2005 by linkage to national health registers. The observations were excluded when the patients left Denmark or died.

Outcome measures

The use of hospital treatments, contacts with general practitioners and the use of physiotherapy.


Compared to the controls, more patients with TBI and SCI were hospital admitted all 9 years after the injury year, on average 0.36 and 0.50 times annually, respectively. For patients with PF hospital admissions returned to baseline year 2 after the injury year. For patients with SCI the use of general practitioner services remained at an increased level year 9 after the injury year, while it returned to baseline level year 4 after the injury year for patients with TBI and year 2 for patients with PF. For patients with SCI physiotherapy use remained increased over 9 years after the injury year, while it returned to baseline the fifth year for patients with TBI and the third year after for patients with PF.


TBI and SCI increase the use of health services over 9 years after the injury year, while most health service use after PF returned to baseline 2 years after the injury year.

Keywords: Accident & Emergency Medicine, Epidemiology, Public Health

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