Identification of At-Risk Patients That Need More Intensive Treatment Following mTBI: Post-Hoc Insights From the UPFRONT-Study

Myrthe E Scheenen*, Harm J van der Horn, Myrthe E de Koning, Joukje van der Naalt, Jacoba M Spikman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To investigate which factors within an at-risk group make patients less likely to benefit from preventive treatment following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

SETTING: Inclusion in 3 level I trauma centers in the Netherlands. Data collection through surveys as outpatients.

PARTICIPANTS: mTBI patients (18-66 years), reporting 3 or more complaints 2 weeks postinjury (at-risk status). Eighty-four patients included and randomized (39 patients cognitive behavioral therapy, 45 patients telephonic counseling). Eighty patients filled out the questionnaires 12 months postinjury. Post hoc analysis investigating 80 patients as 1 at-risk group receiving psychological treatment.

DESIGN: Post hoc study of a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Binomial logistic regression performed determining which variables 2 weeks postinjury contributed strongly to unsuccessful return to work/study (RTW) and unfavorable outcome at 12 months.

MAIN MEASURES: RTW and functional outcome as measured with the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOSE) at 12 months postinjury.

RESULTS: Out of 80 patients, 43 (53.8%) showed a favorable functional outcome at 12 months, and 56 (70%) patients had a full RTW. Patients with unfavorable outcome had a higher age and higher reports of anxiety, depression at 2 weeks and 12 months postinjury. Patients with an unsuccessful RTW had a higher age and higher reports of depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder at 2 weeks and 12 months postinjury. A logistic regression model for functional outcome (GOSE) was statistically significant (χ²7 = 40.30, P < .0001). Of 6 predictor variables, 3 were significant: anxiety, depression, and treatment condition. For RTW, logistic regression was also statistically significant (χ²7 = 19.15, P = .008), with only 1 out of 6 predictor variables (ie, age) being significant.

CONCLUSION: Main findings comprise differences in demographic and psychological measures between patients with favorable and unfavorable outcomes and patients with RTW versus no RTW. Prediction models of outcome and RTW showed several psychological measures at 2 weeks greatly determining patients' likelihood benefitting from the preventive treatment. Results suggest that from the beginning there are some patients for whom a short preventive treatment is not sufficient. Selection and treatment of at-risk patients might be better based on psychological symptoms instead of posttraumatic complaints.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27-Feb-2024


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