J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2023 Oct 20. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000904. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To implement a systematic review and meta-analysis to comprehensively synthesize the prevalence of and factors associated with fatigue following traumatic brain injury (TBI).
METHODS: We systematically searched the PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Cumulated Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses A&I databases in all fields from their inception to March 31, 2021. We included observational studies investigating fatigue at specific time points following TBI or factors associated with post-TBI fatigue. All data were analyzed using a random-effects model.
RESULTS: This meta-analysis included 29 studies that involved 12 662 patients with TBI and estimated the prevalence of post-TBI fatigue (mean age = 41.09 years); the meta-analysis also included 23 studies that involved 6681 patients (mean age = 39.95 years) and investigated factors associated with post-TBI fatigue. In patients with mild-to-severe TBI, the fatigue prevalence rates at 2 weeks or less, 1 to 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years or more after TBI were 52.2%, 34.6%, 36.0%, 36.1%, and 48.8%, respectively. Depression (r = 0.48), anxiety (r = 0.49), sleep disturbance (r = 0.57), and pain (r = 0.46) were significantly associated with post-TBI fatigue. No publication bias was identified among the studies, except for those assessing fatigue prevalence at 6 months after TBI.
CONCLUSION: The pooled prevalence rates of post-TBI fatigue exhibited a U-shaped pattern, with the lowest prevalence rates occurring at 1 to 3 months after TBI. Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and pain were associated with post-TBI fatigue. Younger patients and male patients were more likely to experience post-TBI fatigue. Our findings can assist healthcare providers with identifying appropriate and effective interventions targeting post-TBI fatigue at specific periods.