Objectives: To evaluate the prognostic utility of serial assessment on the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R) during the first 4 weeks of intensive rehabilitation in patients surviving a severe brain injury.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: An intensive rehabilitation unit.
Participants: Patients (N=110) consecutively admitted to the intensive rehabilitation unit. Inclusion criteria were (1) a diagnosis of unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) or minimally conscious state (MCS) caused by an acquired brain injury, and (2) aged >18 years.
Interventions: All patients underwent clinical evaluations using the Italian version of the CRS-R during the first month of hospital stay.
Main outcome measures: Behavioral classification on the CRS-R and the score on the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) at final discharge. Patients transitioning from UWS to MCS or emergence from MCS (E-MCS), and from MCS to E-MCS were classified as patients with improved responsiveness (IR).
Results: After a mean ± SD hospital stay of 5.3±2.7 months, 59 of 110 patients (53.6%) achieved IR. In the multivariable analysis, a higher CRS-R score change at week 4 (odds ratio =1.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.49-2.66; P<.001) was the only significant predictor of IR at discharge. Fifty-three patients (48.2%) were classified as severely impaired at discharge (GOS=3). In the multivariable analysis, higher GOS scores were related to a higher CRS-R score at admission (B=.051; 95% CI, .027-.074; P<.001), a higher CRS-R score change at week 4 (B=.087; 95% CI, .064-.110; P<.001), and an absence of severe infections (B=-.477; 95% CI, -.778 to -.176; P=.002).
Conclusions: An improvement on the total CRS-R score and on different subscales across the first 4 weeks of inpatient rehabilitation discriminates patients who will have a better outcome at discharge, providing information for rehabilitation planning and for communication with patients and their caregivers.
Keywords: Brain injury; Coma; Prognosis; Rehabilitation.
Copyright © 2018 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.