Prediction of Persistent Postconcussion Symptoms in Youth Using a Neuroimaging Decision Rule

Published:October 30, 2015DOI:



      To evaluate the ability of risk strata generated by a neuroimaging rule, developed to assess risk of clinically important traumatic brain injury (ciTBI), to predict postconcussive symptoms in youth with an acute mild traumatic brain injury.


      We performed a prospective cohort study of youth aged 5 to 17 years presenting to an emergency department (ED) within 24 hours of mild traumatic brain injury. Risk strata (very low, intermediate, and at risk) of ciTBI were determined in ED by criteria set forth by the neuroimaging rule. Postconcussive symptoms were assessed using the Health and Behavior Inventory (HBI) in the ED and at 1, 2, and 4 weeks after injury. General linear models were used to examine the relationship between the HBI score at 1 week and risk strata. Repeated measures analysis was used to measure change in HBI over time.


      Of the 120 participants, 46 were categorized by the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) rule as very low risk, 39 as intermediate risk, and 35 as at risk for ciTBI. Adjusted mean HBI scores (95% confidence intervals) at 1 week were 18.0 (13.9, 22.2) for at risk, 13.8 (9.9, 17.6) for intermediate risk, and 17.1 (13.4, 20.8) for very low risk. Risk strata were not significantly associated with the adjusted HBI score at 1 week (P = .17). While adjusted HBI scores declined significantly over time (P < .0001), the trajectories of the HBI score over time did not differ significantly by risk strata (P = .68).


      Risk of ciTBI as determined by factors within a neuroimaging rule alone is insufficient to predict children with persistent postconcussive symptoms.


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