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Outcome After Traumatic Brain Injury: Effects of Aging on Recovery

      Abstract

      Testa JA, Malec JF, Moessner AM, Brown AW. Outcome after traumatic brain injury: effects of aging on recovery.

      Objective

      To identify differences in outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI) compared with orthopedic injuries as a function of age.

      Design

      Longitudinal data analyses from an inception cohort.

      Setting

      Outpatient rehabilitation program.

      Participants

      Eighty-two orthopedic injury patients and 195 TBI patients.

      Interventions

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Independent living, employment, and level of functioning 1 to 2 years after injury.

      Results

      Older patients and those with TBI were more likely to have increased dependence postinjury. Older TBI patients were more likely to have changes in employment status compared with orthopedic injury patients younger or TBI. The Mayo-Portland Adaptability Inventory and Disability Rating Scale were moderately predictive of level of functioning, return to employment, and independent living status 1 to 2 years postinjury. Injury severity was only mildly predictive of outcome.

      Conclusions

      The effect of age on outcome affects recovery from neurologic injuries and, to a lesser extent, orthopedic injuries. Outcome after TBI is best predicted by patients’ age and estimates of level of function at discharge. Findings suggest that older patients and those with TBI have a greater likelihood of becoming physically and financially dependent on others. Rehabilitation efforts should focus on maximizing levels of independence to limit financial and emotional costs to patients and their families.

      Key Words

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