Background: Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a major public-health concern and represents 70-90% of all treated traumatic brain injuries. The last best-evidence synthesis, conducted by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Neurotrauma, Prevention, Management and Rehabilitation in 2002, found few quality studies on prognosis. The objective of this review is to update these findings. Specifically, we aim to describe the course, identify modifiable prognostic factors, determine long-term sequelae, and identify effects of interventions for MTBI. Finally, we will identify gaps in the literature, and make recommendations for future research.
Methods: The databases MEDLINE, PsychINFO, Embase, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus were systematically searched (2001 to date). The search terms included 'traumatic brain injury', 'craniocerebral trauma', 'prognosis', and 'recovery of function'. Reference lists of eligible papers were also searched. Studies were screened according to pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria included original, published peer-reviewed research reports in English, French, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Spanish, and human participants of all ages with an accepted definition of MTBI. Exclusion criteria included publication types other than systematic reviews, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies; as well as cadaveric, biomechanical, and laboratory studies. All eligible papers were critically appraised using a modification of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) criteria. Two reviewers performed independent, in-depth reviews of each eligible study, and a third reviewer was consulted for disagreements. Data from accepted papers were extracted into evidence tables, and the evidence was synthesized according to the modified SIGN criteria.
Conclusion: The results of this study form the basis for a better understanding of recovery after MTBI, and will allow development of prediction tools and recommendation of interventions, as well as informing health policy and setting a future research agenda.