Author(s): Estraneo A, Moretta P, Loreto V, Santoro L, Trojano L
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To report clinical conditions and neuropsychological functioning of patients with late recovery of responsiveness at least 5 years after injury. DESIGN: Patient series. SETTING: Patients discharged from an inpatient rehabilitation unit. PARTICIPANTS: Patients (N=13) who recovered from a vegetative state 1 year after severe traumatic brain injury or 6 months after nontraumatic brain injury. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Coma Recovery Scale-Revised, Disability Rating Scale, and FIM. For patients who recovered full consciousness, neuropsychological tests specifically adapted for patients with very severe disabilities were used. RESULTS: After regaining responsiveness, 2 patients died because of severe clinical complications. Among the remaining 11 patients, 5 were still in a minimally conscious state at their last assessment, but 4 of them had recovered some complex behavioral responses to the environment (eg, they could follow simple commands, albeit inconsistently). Six patients had emerged from a minimally conscious state at the last evaluation. Severe functional disability was present in both patients who were conscious and patients who were minimally conscious. No patient was autonomous in common daily life activities or in transfers. All patients who were conscious showed variable cognitive impairments, and some of them also developed behavioral and psychological symptoms. However, such disturbances did not impede the patients' interaction with relatives and caregivers. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides systematic data about the course of the disease in a cohort of patients that was previously considered as exceptional. Patients with late recovery show a variable degree of functional recovery, although they experience marked residual motor and cognitive disabilities. The present findings contribute to enhance the understanding of the course of the disease in patients with late recovery and might help clinicians optimize the levels of care and provide the patients' families with correct information. Copyright © 2014 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Arch Phys Med Rehabil
and referenced in Journal of Trauma & Treatment