Research Reports - Fatigue following pediatric acquired brain injury and its impact on functional outcomes

Neuropsychology Review
March 2018, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 73–87

Jake WilkinsonNohely Lee MarmolCelia GodfreyHarriet WillsQuirine van EijndhovenEdith Nardu BotchwayNikita SoodVicki AndersonCathy Catroppa

Fatigue is a commonly reported sequela following an acquired brain injury (ABI), and can have a negative impact on many areas of a child’s life. However, there is minimal research that focuses on fatigue specifically, and so factors such as its occurrence, duration, and impact on functioning remain uncertain. This systematic review aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the research to date, bringing together a number of studies with a focus on paediatric ABI and fatigue. Terms were searched in relevant databases (PsycInfo, Medline, CINAHL), and articles were included or excluded based on specified criteria. Of the 1177 papers identified in the original search, a total of 9 papers met inclusion criteria, and were categorised as traumatic brain injury (TBI; n = 4), meningitis and meningococcal disease (n = 2), brain tumours (n = 2), and mixed ABI group (n = 1). Key findings suggest that fatigue is a problem encountered by a significant proportion of patients in all the studies reviewed, and often occurred regardless of the cause; fatigue was also associated with poor academic achievement, limited physical activity, and social and emotional problems. Injuries of greater severity were associated with higher levels of fatigue and worse outcomes. Several management options were suggested, though their efficacy was not reported. Future research is required with a suggested focus on using multiple time points to better understand the trajectories of fatigue following childhood ABI, and to build an evidence base to determine which management options are most suitable.

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