Prevalence and Predictors of Poor Recovery from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

J Neurotrauma. 2015 Oct 1;32(19):1488-96. doi: 10.1089/neu.2014.3555. Epub 2015 Jul 17.


Although most patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) recover within 3 months, a subgroup of patients experience persistent symptoms. Yet, the prevalence and predictors of persistent dysfunction in patients with mTBI remain poorly understood. In a longitudinal study, we evaluated predictors of symptomatic and cognitive dysfunction in adolescents and young adults with mTBI, compared with two control groups-patients with orthopedic injuries and healthy uninjured individuals. Outcomes were assessed at 3 months post-injury. Poor symptomatic outcome was defined as exhibiting a symptom score higher than 90% of the orthopedic control (OC) group, and poor cognitive outcome was defined as exhibiting cognitive performance poorer than 90% of the OC group. At 3 months post-injury, more than half of the patients with mTBI (52%) exhibited persistently elevated symptoms, and more than a third (36.4%) exhibited poor cognitive outcome. The rate of high symptom report in mTBI was markedly greater than that of typically developing (13%) and OC (17%) groups; the proportion of those with poor cognitive performance in the mTBI group exceeded that of typically developing controls (15.8%), but was similar to that of the OC group (34.9%). Older age at injury, female sex, and acute symptom report were predictors of poor symptomatic outcome at 3 months. Socioeconomic status was the only significant predictor of poor cognitive outcome at 3 months.

Keywords: cognitive function; human studies; recovery; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult