Research Reports - Pediatric providers' attitudes and practices regarding concussion diagnosis and management

Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2017 Aug 25. pii:
/j/ijamh.ahead-of-print/ijamh-2017-0070/ijamh-2017-0070.xml. doi:
10.1515/ijamh-2017-0070. [Epub ahead of print]

Itriyeva K(1), Feinstein R(1), Carmine L(1).

Background Concussions, a form of mild traumatic brain injury, are a current "hot
topic" in sports and medicine, with current research focusing on diagnosis,
treatment, and the long-term effects of repeated concussions on development of
chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Concussions represent 8.9% of all high school
athletic injuries, and pediatricians see many of these patients in their
practices, however evolving guidelines and recommendations have resulted in
varying practices among providers. Objective To assess how local pediatricians in
New York Chapter 2 of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) diagnose and treat
concussion patients, and to evaluate the need for continuing education in this
area. Design and methods Survey Monkey™ was used to query providers regarding
their diagnosis and treatment of concussion patients. A total of three emails
containing a link to the 22 question multiple-choice survey were sent to AAP
Chapter 2 members between January 2015 and June 2015. The survey was adapted and
modified with permission from one previously used by "Zonfrillo MR, Master CL,
Grady MF, Winston FK, Callahan JM, Arbogast KB. Pediatric providers'
self-reported knowledge, practices, and attitudes about concussion. Pediatrics.
2012;130:1120-5". Results We received 115 responses from 1436 potential
participants to whom the survey link was sent, resulting in an 8% response rate.
We excluded subspecialists from our data analysis, resulting in data from 95
primary care pediatricians. Of the PCPs 98.7% reported seeing at least one child
or adolescent with a concussion in the previous 12 months and 76.6% reported
referring some or all of their concussion patients for ongoing management. The
most common reason for referral was "I am not always comfortable with management"
and the most common subspecialist referral was to a neurologist. Most providers
reported that they did not use any guidelines for management (58.3%) and only
57.4% were familiar with the New York State Education Department concussion
guidelines. Almost half reported inadequate training in performing neurocognitive
assessments (48.6%). Most were comfortable educating families about the diagnosis
of concussion (81.7%), as well as recommending the appropriate time to resume
school (70.4%) and prescribing and monitoring a return to play protocol (62%). A
total of 84.3% also responded, however, that they would be interested in a
webinar for a continuing medical education(CME) credit focused on concussion
diagnosis and management. Conclusions Most pediatric providers care for patients
who have suffered a concussion, however many identify barriers to diagnosis and
treatment, which results in patients being referred to subspecialists for further
management. Many providers are also unfamiliar with, or do not use, published
concussion guidelines and report varying practices in treatment of concussion
patients due to evolving recommendations. This study demonstrates that there is a
need for further education for pediatric providers who see patients with
concussion. 

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