Good Health-Related Quality of Life in Older Patients One Year after mTBI despite Incomplete Recovery: An Indication of the Disability Paradox?

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Abstract

Background: Older adults (OAs) with mild traumatic brain injury (OA-mTBI) are a growing population, but studies on long-term outcomes and quality of life are scarce. Our aim was to determine the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in OA-mTBI one year after injury and to assess the early predictors of HRQoL.

Methods: Data from a prospective follow-up study of 164 older (≥60 years) and 289 younger mTBI patients (<60 years) admitted to the emergency department were analyzed. Post-traumatic complaints, emotional distress and coping were evaluated 2 weeks post-injury using standardized questionnaires. At 12 months post-injury, HRQoL and functional recovery were determined with the abbreviated version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life scale and Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE), respectively.

Results: One year post-injury, 80% (n = 131) of the OA-mTBI rated their HRQoL as "good" or "very good", which was comparable to younger patients (79% (n = 226), p = 0.72). Incomplete recovery (GOSE <8) was present in 43% (n = 69) of OA-mTBI, with 67% (n = 46) reporting good HRQoL. Two weeks post-injury, fewer OA-mTBI had (≥2) post-traumatic complaints compared to younger patients (68% vs. 80%, p = 0.01). In the multivariable analyses, only depression-related symptoms (OR = 1.20 for each symptom, 95% CI = 1.01-1.34, p < 0.01) were predictors of poor HRQoL in OA-mTBI.

Conclusions: Similar to younger patients, most OA-mTBI rated their HRQoL as good at one year after injury, although a considerable proportion showed incomplete recovery according to the GOSE, suggesting a disability paradox. Depression-related symptoms emerged as a significant predictor for poor HRQoL and can be identified as an early target for treatment after mTBI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2655
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-May-2024

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