Comparing prospectively recorded posttraumatic amnesia duration with retrospective accounts

Caroline M. Roberts, Gershon Spitz, Jennie L. Ponsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Limited research has been conducted comparing different methods for determining the duration of posttraumatic amnesia (PTA). This study compared prospectively recorded PTA duration (P-PTA) with retrospective reports of the return of continuous memory (R-PTA). Participants: Fifty-nine individuals admitted to a head injury rehabilitation unit with a traumatic brain injury who had their PTA duration recorded using the Westmead Post-Traumatic Amnesia Scale. Participants were between 6 months and 6 years postinjury at the time of study. Measures: P-PTA was determined on the basis of Westmead Post-Traumatic Amnesia Scale responses. R-PTA was ascertained using a semistructured telephone interview. Results: Although the PTA measures were significantly positively correlated (r = 0.76), mean R-PTA was significantly longer than mean P-PTA. In 34 cases (57.6 ), R-PTA was longer than P-PTA (13 participants moved to a higher injury severity band), and in 22 cases (37.3 ), R-PTA was shorter than P-PTA (8 participants moved to a lower injury severity band). The difference between P-PTA and R-PTA was not significantly associated with age, Glasgow Coma Scale score, overall PTA duration, or the number of days postinjury of the retrospective interview. Conclusions: Prospective and retrospective estimates of PTA duration were not comparable within the present sample. Further research comparing the two methods is needed
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E71-E77
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Posttraumatic amnesia
  • Retrospective
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Westmead PTA Scale

Cite this