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Prospective Tracking and Analysis of Traumatic Brain Injury in Veterans and Military Personnel

Published:October 26, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2016.09.131

      Highlights

      • Description of the demographic and injury characteristics of mild to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) conflicts as well as other non–combat-related situations.
      • Most of the mild TBIs occurred in combat locations, while most of the severe TBIs occurred in the United States.
      • Blast-related TBIs were predominant in the OEF/OIF/OND cohort.
      • The Clinical Tracking Form study has served as a significant resource of data to understand the long-term effect and outcomes of TBI in the military population.

      Abstract

      Objective

      To describe the ongoing Clinical Tracking Form (CTF) study of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).

      Design

      Prospective longitudinal study. Data at baseline and postinjury are collected on participants through interview and questionnaire, review of medical records, and periodic follow-ups throughout their lifetime.

      Setting

      A regional DVBIC site located at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

      Participants

      Participants (N=211; age range, 18–75y) were enrolled between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2012, at a regional DVBIC site.

      Intervention

      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Injury information, functioning, and psychological health.

      Results

      Sixty percent of 211 participants were identified as having severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), 14% moderate TBIs, and 26% mild TBIs. Of these 211 participants, 79% sustained closed head injuries, 15% penetrating head injuries, and 6% were not reported. Comparing the severity of TBI in combat versus stateside situations, most of the mild injuries (71%) occurred in combat locations, while most of the severe injuries (62%) occurred in the United States. Among those injured in combat, blast-related TBIs (82%) greatly outnumbered non–blast-related TBIs, regardless of severity.

      Conclusions

      The CTF study serves as a significant resource of data to understand the effect and outcomes of TBI in the military population. The lifelong experience of military veterans across the full spectrum of TBI and recovery will be recorded through the CTF, and will translate into more informed clinical decisions and educational efforts to guide future research pathways.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      CTF (Clinical Tracking Form), DVBIC (Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center), OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom), OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom), OND (Operation New Dawn), TBI (traumatic brain injury)
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