Cognition in patients with burn injury in the inpatient rehabilitation population

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jul;95(7):1342-9. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.01.029. Epub 2014 Feb 28.


Objective: To analyze potential cognitive impairment in patients with burn injury in the inpatient rehabilitation population.

Design: Rehabilitation patients with burn injury were compared with the following impairment groups: spinal cord injury, amputation, polytrauma and multiple fractures, and hip replacement. Differences between the groups were calculated for each cognitive subscale item and total cognitive FIM. Patients with burn injury were compared with the other groups using a bivariate linear regression model. A multivariable linear regression model was used to determine whether differences in cognition existed after adjusting for covariates (eg, sociodemographic factors, facility factors, medical complications) based on previous studies.

Setting: Inpatient rehabilitation facilities.

Participants: Data from Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation from 2002 to 2011 for adults with burn injury (N=5347) were compared with other rehabilitation populations (N=668,816).

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Comparison of total cognitive FIM scores and subscales (memory, verbal comprehension, verbal expression, social interaction, problem solving) for patients with burn injury versus other rehabilitation populations.

Results: Adults with burn injuries had an average total cognitive FIM score ± SD of 26.8±7.0 compared with an average FIM score ± SD of 28.7±6.0 for the other groups combined (P<.001). The subscale with the greatest difference between those with burn injury and the other groups was memory (5.1±1.7 compared with 5.6±1.5, P<.001). These differences persisted after adjustment for covariates.

Conclusions: Adults with burn injury have worse cognitive FIM scores than other rehabilitation populations. Future research is needed to determine the impact of this comorbidity on patient outcomes and potential interventions for these deficits.

Keywords: Burns; Cognition; Outcome measures; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amputation / psychology
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / psychology
  • Burns / psychology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Male
  • Mental Processes*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology