Traumatic Brain Injury Lowers Children's Quality of Life

Moderate to severe injury lowers quality of life, impairs adaptive and social abilities

TUESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Children with moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and children with mild TBI with an intracranial hemorrhage have a considerable reduction in their quality of life, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in Pediatrics.

Frederick P. Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues investigated the level of disability after TBI in children younger than 18 years of age, across the spectrum of injury severity in a cohort of 729 children with a TBI and 197 with arm injury. Disability levels in health-related quality of life, adaptive skills, and participation in social and community activities at three, 12, and 24 months post-injury were compared with pre-injury functioning.

The investigators found that children with moderate or severe TBI had lower health-related quality of life at follow-up times compared with baseline, with some improvement occurring during the first two years after injury. There was a substantial reduction in the level of activities in which children with moderate and severe TBI were able to participate three months after the injury, which improved at 12 and 24 months but still remained significantly impaired. For children with moderate and severe TBI, communication and self-care abilities were lower at three months post-injury compared with baseline, and did not improve by 24 months. At three months, children defined as having mild TBI and had intracranial hemorrhage had lower quality-of-life scores.

"Further efforts to understand the reasons for persistent symptoms and to develop effective treatments might be needed," the authors write.

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