Post-traumatic amnesia predicts intelligence impairment following traumatic brain injury: a meta-analysis

Author(s): Königs M, de Kieviet JF, Oosterlaan J

Abstract

Context:Worldwide, millions of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) suffer from persistent and disabling intelligence impairment. Post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) duration is a promising predictor of intelligence following TBI.

Objectives:To determine (1) the impact of TBI on intelligence throughout the lifespan and (2) the predictive value of PTA duration for intelligence impairment, using meta-analytic methods.

Methods:Electronic databases were searched for peer reviewed articles, published until February 2012. Studies reporting intelligence following TBI and injury severity by PTA duration were included. Meta-analytic methods generated effect sizes for full scale IQ (FSIQ), performance IQ (PIQ) and verbal IQ (VIQ), following mild TBI (PTA duration 1-24 h) and severe TBI (PTA duration >7 days), during the subacute phase of recovery (≤6 months post-injury) and the chronic phase (>6 months post-injury). Meta-regression elucidated the predictive value of PTA duration for intelligence impairment.

Results:Patients with severe TBI exhibited large depressions in FSIQ in the subacute phase of recovery (d = -1.07, 95% CI to 1.52 to -0.62; p<0.001), persisting into the chronic phase (d = -0.78, 95% CI -1.06 to -0.51; p<0.001). PIQ was more severely affected than VIQ in the subacute phase (Q1 =3.85; p<0.05) but not in the chronic phase (Q1 =0.03, p=0.87). Most importantly, longer PTA duration strongly predicted greater depressions of FSIQ and PIQ in the subacute phase (-0.76 ≤ βs ≤ -0.73, Ps<0.01) and FSIQ, PIQ and VIQ in the chronic phase (-0.80 ≤ βs ≤ -0.61, Ps<0.05).

Conclusions:PTA duration is a valuable predictor of intelligence impairment following TBI. Results support the routine assessment of PTA duration in clinical settings.

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