University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Incidence of disability among children 12 months after traumatic brain injury


Rivara FP, Koepsell TD, Wang J, Temkin N, Dorsch A, Vavilala MS, Durbin D, Jaffe KM



Publication Info:

Am J Public Health, 102(11):2074-2079


OBJECTIVES: We examined the burden of disability resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among children younger than 18 years.
METHODS: We derived our data from a cohort study of children residing in King County, Washington, who were treated in an emergency department for a TBI or for an arm injury during 2007-2008. Disabilities 12 months after injury were assessed according to need for specialized educational and community-based services and scores on standardized measures of adaptive functioning and social-community participation.
RESULTS: The incidence of children receiving new services at 12 months was about 10-fold higher among those with a mild TBI than among those with a moderate or severe TBI. The population incidence of disability (defined according to scores below the norm means on the outcome measures included) was also consistently much larger (2.8-fold to 28-fold) for mild TBIs than for severe TBIs.
CONCLUSIONS: The burden of disability caused by TBIs among children is primarily accounted for by mild injuries. Efforts to prevent these injuries as well as to decrease levels of disability following TBIs are warranted.

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