Retrospective analysis of the recovery of orientation and memory during posttraumatic amnesia

Caroline May Roberts, Gershon Spitz, Jennie Louise Ponsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Prospective monitoring of posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) is recommended following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, few studies have examined the typical order in which items recover on PTA scales. Different methods have been used to define recovery, and the order reported is not consistent across the literature. The purpose of this study was to improve understanding of the progression of PTA by reporting the duration to recovery of items and categories on the Westmead Post-Traumatic Amnesia Scale (WPTAS) according to different criteria. Method: A retrospective analysis was conducted of 66 patients with TBI who were administered the WPTAS during hospital admission. The duration to recovery of items and categories was determined according to 3 criteria: first correct, correct 3 times in a row, and consistently correct. Results: On the basis of the sample mean, date of birth (DOB), year, age, place, month, day, name, and memory for the 3 pictures recovered in this order according to all 3 criteria. However, the significance of differences between items and the order of recovery of categories depended on the criterion adopted. Although DOB recovered first in 74 of cases and the 3 pictures last in 63 of cases, there was a high degree of individual variability in the precise sequence of recovery. Conclusions: The traditional view of PTA recovering in the order of person, place, time, and memory does not adequately describe the profile of recovery on the WPTAS. Considering the recovery of individual items is necessary to understand and account for individuals differences in the order of recovery
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522 - 529
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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