Background: The prevalence of postconcussion syndrome (PCS) in the first weeks after mild traumatic brain injury varies from 40% to 80%. However, as many as 50% of patients report symptoms for up to 3 months and 10% to 15% for more than a year. The objective of this study is to analyze the characteristics and estimate the prevalence of PCS in an adult Greek population.
Methods: This prospective study was performed in the University Hospital of Patras in Western Greece. Patients with mild traumatic brain injury (n = 539) were randomly recruited on admission between May 2006 and May 2008. Overall, 223 patients (223 of 539, 41.5%) met the Colorado Medical Society guidelines for concussion; 141 men (63%) and 82 women (37%) with a median age of 30 years (range, 18.5-57.5 years) were included in the study. Patient follow-up consisted of telephone interviews at 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months postinjury, when they were asked about experiencing common postconcussion symptoms (International Classification of Diseases-10th revision criteria).
Results: The rate of PCS at 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months postinjury was estimated to be 10.3%, 6%, and 0.9%, respectively. The syndrome was more frequent among women (17%) and individuals with bleeding diathesis (26%) compared with men (6.4%) and patients without clotting disorders (8.5%), respectively. In addition, higher rates of PCS affected patients who sustained assaults compared with other types of accidents.
Conclusions: The prevalence of PCS was remarkably higher in previous studies. Cultural differences regarding symptom expectation and the lack of compensation might explain the low rate of chronic symptoms in Greeks.