Despite overlapping characteristics, persistent symptoms occurring 3 months after mild traumatic brain injury are not specific enough to be considered post-concussion syndrome and should be diagnosed as the hyperarousal dimension of posttraumatic stress disorder, researchers reported.
A prospective cohort study included 534 patients with head injuries and 827 control patients with other non-head injuries. Researchers compared the prevalence and risk factors for post-concussion syndrome (PCS) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 3 months after initial presentation; symptoms clustering and their associations with injury type were assessed using multiple correspondence analyses.
According to the researchers, 21.2% of patients with head injuries and 16.3% of patients with non-head injuries fulfilled the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, diagnosis of PCS, whereas 8.8% of head-injured patients and 2.2% of control patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for PTSD.
Multivariate analysis showed that mild traumatic brain injury was an indicator of PTSD, but not an indicator of PCS. Through correspondence analysis, the researchers found that symptoms considered to be related to PCS behaved similarly to those of PTSD in the hyperarousal dimension.
There was no pattern of clustering seen among the symptoms reported, nor was there any clear proximity with the variable indicating head- or non-head–injury status, according to the researchers.
Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.