Objectives: To measure the incidence of agitation after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an inpatient population and to identify any features associated with an adverse outcome.
Design: Prospective study of TBI admissions over 30 months in consecutive admissions with TBI to a regional neurorehabilitation unit. Outcome of agitation was compared to patient, injury and treatment features and any associations were sought. The presence of agitation was measured by the Agitation Behaviour Score. A good outcome for agitation was defined as a return to independent living with minimal care requirement at 6 months using an Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOSE) score >4.
Results: Over 30 months, there were 146 TBI admissions, of whom 53 cases had agitation (36.3%). Achieving 100% follow-up, 27 (51%) had a good outcome. On a multivariable logistic regression analysis, a good outcome was associated with the type of lesions seen on CT scan, the severity of agitation and the duration of the behaviour. Alcohol excess and type of treatment used for the behaviour were initially significant on univariate testing but dropped out of the logistic regression model.
Conclusions: Over a third of TBI admissions, developed agitation and poor functional outcome was associated with CT scan findings, severity and duration of agitation.