Objectives: To determine (1) if more than 50% of patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) who met study criteria can complete a battery of neuropsychologic tests in less than 75 minutes 2 to 6 weeks after injury regardless of posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) status; (2) which tests are most likely to be completed; and (3) range of scores obtained.
Design: Prospective multicenter observational study.
Setting: Acute inpatient neurorehabilitation hospitals.
Participants: Screened 543 Traumatic Brain Injury Model System patients with moderate to severe TBI; 354 were tested at 2 to 6 weeks postinjury.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measure: Percentage of patients able to complete the neuropsychologic tests in less than 75 minutes.
Results: Two hundred eighteen (62%) patients completed the battery in 66 minutes on average. Mean interval from injury to testing was 28.3+/-7.1 days. Tests completed with the highest frequency were California Verbal Learning Test-II, FAS, and animal naming. Performance was less impaired (P<.001) on all measures for patients who had emerged from PTA.
Conclusions: Approximately two thirds of screened patients were able to complete a brief neuropsychologic test battery at 2 to 6 weeks postinjury, regardless of PTA status. Although patients out of PTA were less impaired on all test measures, confusion did not preclude participation in the test battery or prohibit assignment of test scores. Early neuropsychologic assessment after TBI is feasible even for many patients who are still in PTA.