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Quality of life up to 10 years after traumatic brain injury: a cross-sectional analysis.

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2020;18(1):166. Published 2020 Jun 4. doi:10.1186/s12955-020-01391-3

Authors/Editors: Rauen K, Reichelt L, Probst P, Schäpers B, Müller F, Jahn K, Plesnila N.
Publication Date: 2020

Abstract

Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults in industrialized countries, but strikingly little is known how patients cope with the long-term consequences of TBI. Thus, the aim of the current study was to elucidate health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and outcome predictors in chronic TBI adults.


Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 439 former patients were invited to report HRQoL up to 10 years after mild, moderate or severe TBI using the QOLIBRI (Quality of Life after Brain Injury) questionnaire. The QOLIBRI total score has a maximum score of 100. A score below 60 indicates an unfavorable outcome with an increased risk of an affective and/or anxiety disorder. Results were correlated with demographics and basic characteristics received from medical records (TBI severity, etiology, age at TBI, age at survey, time elapsed since TBI, and sex) using regression models. Differences were considered significant at p <  0.05.


Results: From the 439 invited patients, 135 out of 150 in principle eligible patients (90%) completed the questionnaire; 76% were male, and most patients experienced severe TBI due to a traffic-related accident (49%) or a fall (44%). The mean QOLIBRI total score was 65.5 (± 22.6), indicating good HRQoL. Factors for higher level of satisfaction (p = 0.03; adjusted R2 = 0.1) were autonomy in daily life (p = 0.03; adjusted R2 = 0.09) and cognition (p = 0.05; adjusted R2 = 0.05). HRQoL was weakly correlated with initial TBI severity (p = 0.04; adjusted R2 = 0.02). 36% of patients reported unfavorable HRQoL with increased risk of one (20%) or two (16%) psychiatric disorders.


Conclusions: The majority of chronic TBI patients reported good HRQoL and the initial TBI severity is a slight contributor but not a strong predictor of HRQoL. Autonomy and cognition are decisive factors for satisfied outcome and should be clearly addressed in neurorehabilitation. One third of patients, however, suffer from unsatisfactory outcome with psychiatric sequelae. Thus, an early neuropsychiatric assessment after TBI is necessary and need to be installed in future TBI guidelines.

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