A new study has identified risk factors for the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), making it possible to screen for PTSD symptoms among at-risk populations.
Unlike much previous research that has focused on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD in military personnel, the current study focused on civilian emergency services providers.
The findings are published in Journal of Neurotrauma.
The researchers found that about 27 percent of the patients with mTBI who returned for follow-up care at 6 months post-injury and underwent screening were positive for PTSD.
Juliet Haarbauer-Krupa and co-authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital, and Washington University in St. Louis, evaluated factors including functional disability, psychiatric symptoms, satisfaction with life, and performance on measures of visual processing and mental flexibility. They also assessed the predictive value of pre-injury education, psychiatric history, and cause of the brain injury.
"This study represents yet another important communication originating from the CDC and the TRACK-TBI study group that now reframes PTSD within the context of civilian TBI," says John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurotrauma and Professor, Medical College of Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. "The finding of a relatively significant proportion of civilian patients experiencing PTSD following mild TBI calls for its more routine evaluation, particularly in those patients with the added comorbid factors identified in this report."
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Haarbauer-Krupa J et al. Screening for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a Civilian Emergency Department Population with Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, Published Online June 10 2016. doi: 10.1089/neu.2015.4158