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Identifying Children at Risk for Persistent Symptoms after Concussion

Approximately one-third of children who experience a concussion will experience persistent post-concussion symptoms. Researchers have developed a new clinical scoring system that may help predict which patients are at a higher risk for prolonged symptoms.

Canadian researchers evaluated more than 3,000 patients, ages 5 to 18, who presented within 48 hours of an acute head injury. About thirty percent ended up with persistent post-concussion symptoms at 28 days. Researchers identified nine clinical factors that were predictive of post-concussive symptoms. These factors were then used in a twelve point risk score that included items like age, sex, history of migraines or depression, prior history of concussion, and problems with balance.

Although the clinical score was better than a physician’s judgement alone, further research is needed before it is fully adopted into clinical practice.

Click here to review the publication in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.