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The prognostic value of injury severity, location of event, and age at injury in pediatric traumatic head injuries

Authors Halldorsson JG, Flekkoy KM, Arnkelsson GB, Tomasson K, Gudmundsson KR, Arnarson EO

Published 11 April 2008 Volume 2008:4(2) Pages 405—412


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Jonas G Halldorsson1, Kjell M Flekkoy2, Gudmundur B Arnkelsson3, Kristinn Tomasson4, Kristinn R Gudmundsson5, Eirikur Orn Arnarson1,6

1Psychological Health Services, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland; 2Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, and Department of Geriatric Medicine, Ulleval University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; 3Department of Psychology, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland; 4Administration of Occupational Safety and Health, Reykjavik, Iceland; 5Department of Neurosurgery, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland; 6Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland

Aims: To estimate the prognostic value of injury severity, location of event, and demographic parameters, for symptoms of pediatric traumatic head injury (THI) 4 years later.

Methods: Data were collected prospectively from Reykjavik City Hospital on all patients age 0–19 years, diagnosed with THI (n = 408) during one year. Information was collected on patient demographics, location of traumatic event, cause of injury, injury severity, and ICD-9 diagnosis. Injury severity was estimated according to the Head Injury Severity Scale (HISS). Four years post-injury, a questionnaire on late symptoms attributed to the THI was sent.

Results: Symptoms reported were more common among patients with moderate/severe THI than among others (p < 0.001). The event location had prognostic value (p < 0.05). Overall, 72% of patients with moderate/severe motor vehicle-related THI reported symptoms. There was a curvilinear age effect (p < 0.05). Symptoms were least frequent in the youngest age group, 0–4 years, and most frequent in the age group 5–14 years. Gender and urban/rural residence were not significantly related to symptoms.

Conclusions: Motor vehicle related moderate/severe THI resulted in a high rate of late symptoms. Location had a prognostic value. Patients with motor vehicle-related THI need special consideration regardless of injury severity.

Keywords: follow-up, pediatric, symptoms, traumatic head injury

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