Screening for traumatic brain injury in troops returning from deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq: initial investigation of the usefulness of a short screening tool for traumatic brain injury

Karen A Schwab, Brian Ivins, Gayle Cramer, Wayne Johnson, Melissa Sluss-Tiller, Kevin Kiley, Warren Lux, Deborah Warden
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation 2007, 22 (6): 377-89

OBJECTIVE: Preliminary assessment of a new instrument, the Brief Traumatic Brain Injury Screen (BTBIS).

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of 596 soldiers returning from Iraq and/or Afghanistan, comparing the consistency of their reports of traumatic brain injury (TBI) across instruments with similar TBI questions, and in a brief follow-up interview.

SETTING: Military base.

MEASURES: Self-reported probable TBI on the BTBIS and on 2 longer questionnaires, and a brief follow-up interview.

RESULTS: Self-reports of probable TBI were higher on the BTBIS, than on the longer instruments. Participants who screened positive on the BTBIS generally provided consistent information about probable TBI in the follow-up interview.

CONCLUSIONS: In this initial study, the BTBIS demonstrated promise as part of a triage process in mass casualty situations, permitting individuals with probable TBI to self-report injury and continued symptoms. Further study, including full validation and reliability assessment, is warranted and required before these screening tools can be fully evaluated.

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