Traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, and pain diagnoses in OIF/OEF/OND Veterans

David X Cifu, Brent C Taylor, William F Carne, Douglas Bidelspach, Nina A Sayer, Joel Scholten, Emily Hagel Campbell
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 2013, 50 (9): 1169-76
To identify the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and pain in Veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn (OIF/OEF/OND), Veterans who received any inpatient or outpatient care from Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities from 2009 to 2011 were studied. A subset of Veterans was identified who were diagnosed with TBI, PTSD, and/or pain (head, neck, or back) as determined by their International Classification of Diseases-9th Revision-Clinical Modification codes. Between fiscal years 2009 and 2011, 613,391 Veterans accessed VHA services at least once (age: 31.9 +/- 9.6 yr). TBI diagnosis in any 1 year was slightly less than 7%. When data from 3 years were pooled, 9.6% were diagnosed with TBI, 29.3% were diagnosed with PTSD, and 40.2% were diagnosed with pain. The full polytrauma triad expression (TBI, PTSD, and pain) was diagnosed in 6.0%. Results show that increasing numbers of Veterans from OIF/OEF/OND accessed VHA over a 3 year period. Among those with a TBI diagnosis, the majority also had a mental health disorder, with approximately half having both PTSD and pain. While the absolute number of Veterans increased by over 40% from 2009 to 2011, the proportion of Veterans diagnosed with TBI and the high rate of comorbid PTSD and pain in this population remained relatively stable.

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