Author(s): Nuwer MR, Hovda DA, Schrader LM, Vespa PM
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Abstract This article reviews the pathophysiology of mild traumatic brain injury, and the findings from EEG and quantitative EEG (QEEG) testing after such an injury. Research on the clinical presentation and pathophysiology of mild traumatic brain injury is reviewed with an emphasis on details that may pertain to EEG or QEEG and their interpretation. Research reports on EEG and QEEG in mild traumatic brain injury are reviewed in this setting, and conclusions are drawn about general diagnostic results that can be determined using these tests. QEEG strengths and weaknesses are reviewed in the context of factors used to determine the clinical usefulness of proposed diagnostic tests. Clinical signs, symptoms, and the pathophysiologic axonal injury and cytotoxicity tend to clear over weeks or months after a mild head injury. Loss of consciousness might be similar to a non-convulsive seizure and accompanied subsequently by postictal-like symptoms. EEG shows slowing of the posterior dominant rhythm and increased diffuse theta slowing, which may revert to normal within hours or may clear more slowly over many weeks. There are no clear EEG or QEEG features unique to mild traumatic brain injury. Late after head injury, the correspondence is poor between electrophysiologic findings and clinical symptoms. Complicating factors are reviewed for the proposed commercial uses of QEEG as a diagnostic test for brain injury after concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. The pathophysiology, clinical symptoms and electrophysiological features tend to clear over time after mild traumatic brain injury. There are no proven pathognomonic signatures useful for identifying head injury as the cause of signs and symptoms, especially late after the injury.
This article was published in Clin Neurophysiol
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation