Gunshot wounds to the brain in children and adolescents: age and neurobehavioral development

Neurosurgery. 1994 Aug;35(2):225-33; discussion 233. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199408000-00007.


Neurobehavioral outcome after craniocerebral gunshot wounds was evaluated in a prospective, 3-year, longitudinal follow-up of a consecutive case series of 13 children and adolescents. The younger group was composed of seven children, ages 1.5 to 4 years, and the older group contained six children, ages 5 to 14. Outcome measures included the Glasgow Outcome Scale and neuropsychological assessment of intelligence, language, motor, memory, attention, academic achievement, and adaptive behavior. Glasgow Outcome Scale scores at baseline indicated moderate and severe disabilities in 69 and 23%, respectively. At the 3-year follow-up, 85% had moderate disabilities but only 8% were severely disabled. Significant and persistent neurobehavioral deficits varied with developmental level at the time of cerebral insult. Intellectual functioning was clearly more impaired in children younger than 5 years of age at the time of injury than in older children. Cognitive and motor factors were most closely related to deficits in the younger group. Disability in older children and adolescents was associated with impaired attention, adaptive behavior, and behavioral disturbance. Disabilities appear to be at least as severe in our sample after cerebral gunshot wounds as in our studies of severe pediatric closed-head injury. At the time of follow-up, younger children sustaining gunshot wounds had slightly lower intelligence quotient scores and similar receptive language, expressive language, and gross motor scores compared with children with severe closed-head injury. The older gunshot wound patients were significantly more impaired than patients with severe closed-head injuries on measures of adaptive behavior and attention.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intelligence / physiology
  • Learning Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Wounds, Gunshot / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Gunshot / surgery*