Outcome measures for traumatic brain injury

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2011 Jul;113(6):435-41. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2011.02.013. Epub 2011 Mar 26.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health problem resulting in death and disabilities of young and productive people. Though the mortality of TBI has decreased substantially in recent years the disability due to TBI has not appreciably reduced. Various outcome scales have been proposed and used to assess disability after TBI. A few, commonly used are Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) with or without extended scores, Disability Rating Scale (DRS), Functional Independence Measure (FIM), Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ), and the Functional Status Examination (FSE). These scales assess disability resulting from physical and cognitive impairments. For patients with good physical recovery a cognitive and neuropsychological outcome measure is required. Such measures include Neurobehavioural Function Inventory and specific neuropsychological tests like Rey Complex Figure for visuoconstruction and memory, Controlled Oral Word Association for verbal fluency, Symbol Digit Modalities (verbal) for sustained attention and Grooved Pegboard for fine motor dexterity. A more holistic and complete outcome measure is Quality of Life (QOL). Disease specific QOL measure for TBI, Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) has also been recently proposed. The problems with outcome measures include poor operational definitions, lack of sensitivity or low ceiling effects, inability to evaluate patients who cannot report, lack of integration of morbidity and mortality categories, and limited domains of functioning assessed. GOSE-E satisfies most of the criteria of good outcome scale and in combination with neuropsychological tests is a near complete instrument for assessment of outcome after TBI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / classification
  • Brain Injuries / therapy*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome