Mild Traumatic Brain Injury : Studies on outcome and prognostic factors

Abstract: Objectives: To explore the prevalence and structure of self-reported disability after mild traumatic brain injury and the impact of traumatic brain pathology on such outcome.Material and methods: In study 1-3, symptoms data were collected by use of Rivermead Post-concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ) and data on global function by use of Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE) from 2602 patients at 3 months after MTBI. RPQ data were subject to factor and Rasch-analyses Head CT data from 1262 patients were used in a prediction analysis that also included age and gender. In study 4, MRI and symptoms data were collected at 2-3 days and at 3-7 months follow-up after MTBI in 19 patients. Global function was assessed at follow-up by use of the Rivermead Head Injury Follow-Up Questionnaire (RHIFUQ) and GOSE.Results: I. Most respondents reported no remaining symptoms but 24% reported ≥3 and 10% ≥7 remaining symptoms. The factor analysis demonstrated that all symptoms are correlated but also identified subgroups of symptoms. II. Rasch-analysis of RPQ showed disordered category function, local dependency of items, poor targeting of persons to items and indications of 3 or more dimensions. There was no differential item functioning. III. Head CT pathology with no need for acute intervention was observed in 52 patients (4%) but was not associated with either frequency of remaining symptoms or global outcome at 3 months post injury. Female gender and age over 30 years were associated with less favourable outcome with respect to symptoms and GOSE. IV. Post-acute MRI indicated trauma-related pathology in one patient and follow-up MRI indicated loss of brain volume in 4 patients.Conclusions: A substantial proportion of patients with MTBI report remaining problems at three months after MTBI. RPQ is useful but not optimal to assess symptoms outcome after MTBI and calculation of a total sum score is not recommended. Female gender and older age are negative prognostic factors while brain pathology according to CT has no effect on self-reported outcome. Loss of brain volume after MTBI according to MRI may be a sensitive marker of traumatic brain pathology and deserves further studies.