Mild traumatic brain injury

A Review of Return to Play Issues and Sports-Related Concussion

Authors: Doolan AW, Day DD, Maerlender AC, Goforth M, Gunnar Brolinson P.

Mild traumatic brain injury in sports has become a significant public health concern which has not only received the general public's attention through multiple news media stories involving athletic concussions, but has also resulted in local, state, and national legislative efforts to improve recognition and management. The purpose of this article is to review the current literature for return to play (RTP) guidelines. State, regional, national, and professional legislation on sport-related concussion RTP management issues will be reviewed. This article will be helpful in developing a generalized systematic approach to concussion management and highlight specific RTP guidelines. The article will also touch upon specific contraindications to RTP, the role of neuropsychological testing in RTP, and other considerations and complications that affect an athlete's ability to return to competition. Finally, considerations for terminating an athlete's competitive season or ending a career after sustaining a concussion resulting in prolonged and protracted symptomatology or repeated concussions will be reviewed. PubMed and Google were searched using the key terms mentioned below. In addition, the author's library of concussion-related articles was reviewed for the relevant literature.

Quality of Life in Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and its Relationship to Postconcussive Symptoms

Authors: Moran LM, Taylor HG, Rusin J, Bangert B, Dietrich A, Nuss KE, Wright M, Minich N, Yeates KO.

OBJECTIVES: Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and injury-related outcomes such as postconcussive symptoms (PCS) may influence health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children.

METHODS: We evaluated HRQOL in 186 8- to 15-year-old children with mild TBI and 99 children with orthopedic injuries (OI). Parents rated the frequency and severity of PCS at an initial assessment within 2-weeks postinjury and rated HRQOL at 3- and 12-months postinjury.

RESULTS: The mild TBI and OI groups did not differ in psychosocial HRQOL, but the mild TBI group showed lower physical HRQOL at the 12-month follow-up. Somatic PCS were a significant predictor of physical HRQOL over time, and both cognitive and somatic PCS were significant predictors of psychosocial HRQOL over time. Children with higher PCS at the initial assessment had lower HRQOL scores at later time points.

CONCLUSIONS: Effective management of PCS may be associated with improvements in HRQOL following pediatric mild TBI.

Cognitive effects of mild head injury in children and adolescents

Authors: Sue R. Beers.

A comprehensive review of recent neuropsychological studies of mild head injury (MHI) involving children and adolescents is presented. The seminal work of Rutter and his colleagues is reviewed. An alternative conceptualization of MHI as proposed by various researchers is elaborated and further research investigating the cognitive sequelae of MHI is reviewed. MHI is discussed within the context of development and information processing models. Finally, the sequelae of MHI are reviewed with respect to academic functioning. Methodological problems inherent in studies of MHI are identified and discussed. The studies reviewed here support the conclusion that both the cognitive and emotional consequences of MHI should receive serious evaluation.

Long term outcome following mild traumatic brain injury in Moroccan patients

Authors: Fourtassi M, Hajjioui A, Ouahabi AE, Benmassaoud H, Hajjaj-Hassouni N, Khamlichi AE.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES: To describe the symptoms of chronic post-concussion syndrome (PCS) and to investigate the relationship between the persistence of these symptoms and different aspects of social life (return to work, quality of life, sport and leisure activities and family relationships) in Moroccan patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), one year after the trauma.

METHODS: Forty-two adult patients who sustained MTBI were reviewed one year after trauma. We investigated the persistence of PCS by using the "Problem Checklist" questionnaire. We also assessed their quality of life using a visual analogue scale, and noted the changes in employment status, social activities and family relationships. Then, we examined whether there were significant relationships between these different data.

RESULTS: More than half of the patients (n=23, 54.8%) were found with persistent post-concussion symptoms at one year post-injury. Chronic PCS was significantly more common in married persons (p=0.008) and significantly related to both non return to work (p≤0.01), and QoL deterioration (p≤0.001).

CONCLUSION: In this study, a large proportion of persons who sustained a MTBI experienced persistent symptoms up to one year after trauma. MTBI might have significant and lasting impact on the quality of life, which is to be verified by further studies.

Quality and consistency of guidelines for the management of mild traumatic brain injury in the emergency department

Authors: Tavender EJ, Bosch M, Green S, O'Connor D, Pitt V, Phillips K, Bragge P, Gruen RL.

ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:880-889 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine ABSTRACT: Objectives:  The objective was to provide an overview of the recommendations and quality of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the emergency management of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), with a view to informing best practice and improving the consistency of recommendations. Methods:  Electronic searches of health databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library, PsycINFO), CPG clearinghouse websites, CPG developer websites, and Internet search engines up to January 2010 were conducted. CPGs were included if 1) they were published in English and freely accessible, 2) their scope included the management of mTBI in the emergency department (ED), 3) the date of last search was within the past 10 years (2000 onward), 4) systematic methods were used to search for evidence, and 5) there was an explicit link between the recommendations and the supporting evidence. Four authors independently assessed the quality of the included CPGs using the Appraisal of Guidelines, Research and Evaluation (AGREE) Instrument. The authors extracted and categorized recommendations according to initial clinical assessment, imaging, management, observation, discharge planning, and patient information and follow-up. Results:  The search identified 18 potential CPGs, of which six met the inclusion criteria. The included CPGs varied in scope, target population, size, and guideline development processes. Four CPGs were assessed as "strongly recommended." The majority of CPGs did not provide information about the level of stakeholder involvement (mean AGREE standardized domain score = 57%, range = 25% to 81%), nor did they address the organizational/cost implications of applying the recommendations or provide criteria for monitoring and review of recommendations in practice (mean AGREE standardized domain score = 46.6%, range = 19% to 94%). Recommendations were mostly consistent in terms of the use of the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score (adult and pediatric) to assess the level of consciousness, initial assessment criteria, the use of computed tomography (CT) scanning as imaging investigation of choice, and the provision of patient information. The CPGs defined mTBI in a variety of ways and described different rules to determine the need for CT scanning and therefore used different criteria to identify high-risk patients. Conclusions:  Higher-quality CPGs for mTBI are consistent in their recommendations about assessment, imaging, and provision of patient information. There is not, however, an agreed definition of mTBI, and the quality of future CPGs could be improved with better reporting of stakeholder involvement, procedures for updating, and greater consideration of the applicability of the recommendations (cost implications, monitoring procedures). Nevertheless, guideline developers may benefit from adapting existing CPGs to their local context rather than investing in developing CPGs de novo.

Mild traumatic brain injury: Impairment and disability assessment caveats

Authors: Zasler ND, Martelli MF.

Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) accounts for approximately 80% of all brain injuries, and persistent sequelae can impede physical, emotional, social, marital, vocational, and avocational functioning. Evaluation of impairment and disability following MTBI typically can involve such contexts as social security disability application, personal injury litigation, worker's compensation claims, disability insurance policy application, other health care insurance policy coverage issues, and the determination of vocational and occupational competencies and limitations. MTBI is still poorly understood and impairment and disability assessment in MTBI can present a significant diagnostic challenge. There are currently no ideal systems for rating impairment and disability for MTBI residua. As a result, medicolegal examiners and clinicians must necessarily familiarise themselves with the variety of disability and impairment evaluation protocols and understand their limitations. The current paper reviews recommended procedures and potential obstacles and confounding issues.

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