Original research| Volume 96, ISSUE 4, P652-658, April 2015

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Accuracy of Self-reported Length of Coma and Posttraumatic Amnesia in Persons With Medically Verified Traumatic Brain Injury

Published:November 20, 2014DOI:



      To determine the accuracy of self-reported length of coma and posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) in persons with medically verified traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to investigate factors that affect self-report of length of coma and PTA duration.


      Prospective cohort study.


      Specialized rehabilitation center with inpatient and outpatient programs.


      Persons (N=242) with medically verified TBI who were identified from a registry of persons who had previously participated in TBI-related research.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Self-reported length of coma and self-reported PTA duration.


      Review of medical records revealed that the mean medically documented length of coma and PTA duration was 6.9±12 and 19.2±22 days, respectively, and the mean self-reported length of coma and PTA duration was 16.7±22 and 106±194 days, respectively. The average discrepancy between self-report and medical record for length of coma and PTA duration was 8.2±21 and 64±176 days, respectively. Multivariable regression models revealed that time since injury, performance on cognitive tests, and medical record values were associated with self-reported values for both length of coma and PTA duration.


      In this investigation, persons with medically verified TBI showed poor accuracy in their self-report of length of coma and PTA duration. Discrepancies were large enough to affect injury severity classification. Caution should be exercised when considering self-report of length of coma and PTA duration.


      List of abbreviations:

      GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale), PTA (posttraumatic amnesia), TBI (traumatic brain injury)
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