Upper-limb function in Australian children with traumatic brain injury: A controlled, prospective study

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 May;82(5):642-9. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2001.22620.


Objective: To describe upper-limb function in children with mild and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), by using both quantitative and qualitative measures.

Design: Controlled, prospective cohort study with assessment points initially, at 6 months, and at 2 years after TBI.

Setting: A tertiary pediatric trauma center in Australia.

Patients: Fifty-one children, ranging in age up to 14 years, who were consecutive admissions with TBI. On the basis of initial and persisting abnormal coma score and persistence of posttraumatic amnesia, they were assigned to either a mild (n = 26) or a severely injured (n = 25) group. Thirty children admitted with non-TBI trauma were recruited as a control group.

Main outcome measures: Quantitative measures included Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency and Peabody Developmental Motor Scales. Qualitative measures included Brunnstrom Recovery Stages (adapted), categoric scales of muscle tone, grasp used when handwriting, quality of writing product, bilateral activity, and splint use.

Results: There was little difference between the groups on the standardized assessments for subjects who could complete the tests. Qualitative measures showed the severe TBI group to have more difficulties with gross arm control, hand control, and hand function.

Conclusion: Children with severe TBI experience more and persisting difficulties with upper-limb function. It is essential to include both quantitative and qualitative measures in this type of research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arm / physiopathology*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Motor Activity* / physiology
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices