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.