To investigate outcome in children with mild traumatic head injury (THI) at 1 week and 3 months postinjury and to identify factors associated with persisting problems.
Postconcussional symptomatology, behavior ratings, and neuropsychological test performance were examined at 1 week and 3 months postinjury.
Participants were recruited from successive presentations to emergency departments of two major hospitals.
130 Children with mild THI were compared with 96 children having other minor injuries as controls.
Children with mild THI experienced headaches, dizziness, and fatigue but exhibited no cognitive impairments, relative to controls, at 1 week postinjury. By 3 months, symptoms had resolved. However, 17% of children showed significant ongoing problems. They were more likely to have a history of previous head injury, learning difficulties, neurological or psychiatric problems, or family stressors.
Persisting problems following mild head injury in children are more common in those with previous head injury, preexisting learning difficulties, or neurological, psychiatric, or family problems. These “at-risk” children should be identified in the emergency department and monitored.
Manager, Psychology and Research, Bethesda Hospital, Monash University* (Ponsford)
Neuropsychologist, Bethesda Hospital† (Willmott)
Neuropsychologist, Howe Rehabilitation Services, Julia Farr Services South Australia* (Rothwell)
Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital* (Cameron)
Assistant Director, Emergency Department, Western Hospital† (Ayton)
Research Assistant, Psychology and Research, Bethesda Hospital† (Nelms)
Neuropsychologist, Bethesda Hospital† (Curran)
Professor and Head of Department, Monash University* (Ng)
This research was funded by a grant from the Ministerial Implementation Committee on Head Injury, Health Department of Victoria.
Address for correspondence and reprints: Dr. Jennie Ponsford, Department of Psychology, Bethesda Hospital, 30 Erin Street, Richmond, Victoria, 3121, Australia (electronic mail: email@example.com).