Dev Neurorehabil. 2023 Aug 7:1-10. doi: 10.1080/17518423.2023.2242945. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Post-concussive symptoms (PCS) are central to the assessment and management of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI); however, this remains poorly understood in children aged ≤5 years. The study aimed to explore individual PCS, pattern of parents’ PCS report over time, proportion of symptomatic children, and variables associated with parents’ report of PCS in their preschool child after a mTBI.
METHODS: Children aged 2-5 years with either a mTBI (n=13) or limb injury (n=6) were recruited from the emergency department (ED). Parent ratings of child PCS were assessed at ED presentation, at one month, and at three months post-injury. Injury (e.g. injury group, pain), child (e.g. pre-existing behavior, symptoms), and parent (e.g. parental stress, education) characteristics were considered when investigating variables that may be relevant to parent report of PCS.
RESULTS: The number of total, physical, and sleep PCS were significantly higher after mTBI, with a significant decrease in physical and sleep PCS over time. The proportion of symptomatic children was comparable between injury groups at each time point. Acute pain and pre-injury symptoms were significantly associated with parents’ acute PCS report in the mTBI group. Further research is needed on variables that may be relevant to parents’ PCS report at follow-up.
CONCLUSION: Preliminary findings suggest a general trauma response after a mTBI or limb injury, but acute physical and sleep PCS may help differentiate the injury groups. Injury and premorbid child variables may be relevant to parents’ report of acute PCS in their child. Additional research is needed to investigate PCS in preschoolers and variables that may predict parents’ PCS report.