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Rehabilitation and follow-up of children with severe traumatic brain injury


We studied the outcome of 25 patients [12 girls and 13 boys; mean age 13.7 (SD 3.9 years)] with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score 6 h after the injury was (mean) 4.5 (SD 2.7), and the mean duration of unconsciousness was 15.8 (SD 10.6) days. Being the most severely brain-injured children in the health care region, they were all referred to its only regional pediatric rehabilitation center during 1986–1990. At discharge, 1 patient was healthy, 1 was in a vegetative state and 18 had multiple impairments. Motor problems were present in 22, epilepsy in 7 and speech impairment in 14. It was not possible to assess cognition in 3 of the children, and 15 of the remaining 22 fell in the normal range. At follow up 2–6 years after trauma, all 23 survivors reported at least one sequela, and 21 had multiple sequelae. As many as two-thirds had normal I.Q. and only 3 were non-ambulatory, but behavioral and personality disturbances were so disabling that none of the patients in this group had been able to readjust to a normal life in society after the trauma.

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Correspondence to Ingrid Emanuelson.

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Emanuelson, I., von Wendt, L., Lundälv, E. et al. Rehabilitation and follow-up of children with severe traumatic brain injury. Child's Nerv Syst 12, 460–465 (1996).

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Key words

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Children
  • Follow-up