Early predictors of outcome after mild traumatic brain injury (UPFRONT): An observational cohort study

J. van der Naalt, M.E. Timmerman, M.E. de Koning, H.J. van der Horn, M.E. Scheenen, B. Jacobs, G. Hageman, T. Yilmaz, G. Roks, J.M. Spikman

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Background: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) accounts for most cases of TBI, and many patients show incomplete long-term functional recovery. We aimed to create a prognostic model for functional outcome by combining demographics, injury severity, and psychological factors to identify patients at risk for incomplete recovery at 6 months. In particular, we investigated additional indicators of emotional distress and coping style at 2 weeks above early predictors measured at the emergency department.

Methods: The UPFRONT study was an observational cohort study done at the emergency departments of three level-1 trauma centres in the Netherlands, which included patients with mTBI, defined by a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 13-15 and either post-traumatic amnesia lasting less than 24 h or loss of consciousness for less than 30 min. Emergency department predictors were measured either on admission with mTBI-comprising injury severity (GCS score, post-traumatic amnesia, and CT abnormalities), demographics (age, gender, educational level, pre-injury mental health, and previous brain injury), and physical conditions (alcohol use on the day of injury, neck pain, headache, nausea, dizziness)-or at 2 weeks, when we obtained data on mood (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), emotional distress (Impact of Event Scale), coping (Utrecht Coping List), and post-traumatic complaints. The functional outcome was recovery, assessed at 6 months after injury with the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE). We dichotomised recovery into complete (GOSE=8) and incomplete (GOSE

Findings: Between Jan 25, 2013, and Jan 6, 2015, data from 910 patients with mTBI were collected 2 weeks after injury; the final date for 6-month follow-up was July 6, 2015. Of these patients, 764 (84%) had post-traumatic complaints and 414 (45%) showed emotional distress. At 6 months after injury, outcome data were available for 671 patients; complete recovery (GOSE=8) was observed in 373 (56%) patients and incomplete recovery (GOSE

Interpretation: Psychological factors (ie, emotional distress and maladaptive coping experienced early after injury) in combination with pre-injury mental health problems, education, and age are important predictors for recovery at 6 months following mTBI. These findings provide targets for early interventions to improve outcome in a subgroup of patients at risk of incomplete recovery from mTBI, and warrant validation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-540
Number of pages9
JournalLancet Neurology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2017



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