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Acute Clinical Predictors of Symptom Recovery in Emergency Department Patients with Uncomplicated Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries. J Neurotrauma 2018 Jan 15;35(2):249-259



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85041086882 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   20 Citations


There is a subset of patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) who report persistent symptoms that impair their functioning and quality of life. Being able to predict which patients will experience prolonged symptom recovery would help clinicians target resources for clinical follow-up to those most in need, and would facilitate research to develop precision medicine treatments for mTBI. The purpose of this study was to investigate the predictors of symptom recovery in a prospective sample of emergency department trauma patients with either mTBI or non-mTBI injuries. Subjects were examined at several time points from within 72 h to 45 days post-injury. We quantified and compared the value of a variety of demographic, injury, and clinical assessment (symptom, neurocognitive) variables for predicting self-reported symptom duration in both mTBI (n = 89) and trauma control (n = 73) patients. Several injury-related and neuropsychological variables assessed acutely (< 72 h) post-injury predicted symptom duration, particularly loss of consciousness (mTBI group), acute somatic symptom burden (both groups), and acute reaction time (both groups), with reasonably good model fit when including all of these variables (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] = 0.76). Incorporating self-reported litigation involvement modestly increased prediction further (AUC = 0.80). The results highlight the multifactorial nature of mTBI recovery, and injury recovery more generally, and the need to incorporate a variety of variables to achieve adequate prediction. Further research to improve this model and validate it in new and more diverse trauma samples will be useful to build a neurobiopsychosocial model of recovery that informs treatment development.

Author List

Nelson LD, Furger RE, Ranson J, Tarima S, Hammeke TA, Randolph C, Barr WB, Guskiewicz K, Olsen CM, Lerner EB, McCrea MA


Michael McCrea PhD Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Lindsay D. Nelson PhD Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Christopher M. Olsen PhD Associate Professor in the Pharmacology and Toxicology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Sergey S. Tarima PhD Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Brain Concussion
Emergency Service, Hospital
Middle Aged
Predictive Value of Tests
Recovery of Function
Severity of Illness Index
Young Adult