Recovery of intellectual ability following traumatic brain injury in childhood: Impact of injury severity and age at injury

Vicki Anderson, Cathy Catroppa, Sue Morse, Flora Haritou, Jeffrey Rosenfeld

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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may have a profound impact on a child's ongoing development. Various risk factors have been found to predict outcome, but considerable variability remains unexplained. This study used a prospective, longitudinal design to examine the relationship between recovery, injury severity, age at injury and pre-injury ability. 124 children were divided according to (1) age at injury: 'young' (3-7 years) 'old' (8-12) and (2) injury severity (mild, moderate, severe). Children were evaluated acutely (T1) and at 12 months post-injury (T2), using standardized intellectual measures (IQ). Results showed a relationship between greater injury severity and poorer IQ. Age at injury was not predictive of outcome for children with mild/moderate TBI. For severe TBI, younger age at injury led to minimal recovery in IQ, while recovery from later injury was similar to that for adults. Findings suggest that children sustaining severe TBI in early childhood may be particularly at risk for residual problems post- injury. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-290
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Recovery
  • Traumatic brain injury

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