Research Reports - Longitudinal follow-up of patients with traumatic brain injury: outcome at two, five, and ten years post-injury

J Neurotrauma. 2014 Jan 1;31(1):64-77

Ponsford JL, Downing MG, Olver J, Ponsford M, Acher R, Carty M, Spitz G

Abstract The deleterious consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI) impair
capacity to return to many avenues of pre-morbid life. However, there has been
limited longitudinal research examining outcome beyond five years post-injury.
The aim of this study was to examine aspects of function, previously shown to be
affected following TBI, over a span of 10 years. One hundred and forty one
patients with TBI were assessed at two, five, and 10 years post-injury using the
Structured Outcome Questionnaire. Fatigue and balance problems were the most
common neurological symptoms, with reported rates decreasing only slightly during
the 10-year period. Mobility outcomes were good in more than 75% of patients,
with few participants requiring aids for mobility. Changes in cognitive,
communication, behavioral, and emotional functions were reported by approximately
60% of the sample at all time points. Levels of independence in activities of
daily living were high during the 10-year period, and as many as 70% of subjects
returned to driving. Nevertheless, approximately 40% of patients required more
support than before their injury. Only half the sample returned to previous
leisure activities and fewer than half were employed at each assessment time
post-injury. Although marital status remained stable over time, approximately 30%
of participants reported difficulties in personal relationships. Older age at
injury did not substantially alter the pattern of changes over time, except in
employment. Overall, problems that were evident at two years post-injury
persisted until 10 years post-injury. The importance of these findings is
discussed with reference to rehabilitation programs.

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