Disability caused by traumatic brain injury in children may persist and stop improving after 2 years
A child who suffers a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) may still have substantial functional disabilities and reduced quality of life 2 years after the injury. After those first 2 years, further improvement may be minimal. Better interventions are needed to prevent long-lasting consequences of TBI in children conclude the authors of a study published in Journal of Neurotrauma.
Frederick Rivara and colleagues from University of Washington, Seattle, and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, Tacoma, WA, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, describe the functional and quality of life outcomes of children who experienced a moderate or severe TBI when they were 0-17 years of age. In the article "Persistence of Disability 24 to 36 Months after Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Cohort Study" they follow up on a previous report that found improvement in some areas of functioning for up to 24 months. In this expanded study, the authors showed no significant improvement in the children's ability to function, participate in activities, or in their quality of life between 24 and 36 months post-injury, and they suggest that a plateau is reached in the recovery.
"This important communication by Rivara and colleagues reinforces the concept that pediatric traumatic brain injury is associated with significant enduring morbidity, with recovery plateauing over time," says John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurotrauma and Professor, VCU Neuroscience Center, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond. "This finding also reinforces emerging thought that pediatric traumatic brain injury must be viewed in another context, rather than the current perception that the course of such injury parallels that found in the adult population."