JOURNAL ARTICLE

Understanding sequelae of injury mechanisms and mild traumatic brain injury incurred during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan: persistent postconcussive symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder

Aaron I Schneiderman, Elisa R Braver, Han K Kang
American Journal of Epidemiology 2008 June 15, 167 (12): 1446-52
18424429
A cross-sectional study of military personnel following deployment to conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan ascertained histories of combat theater injury mechanisms and mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and current prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and postconcussive symptoms. Associations among injuries, PTSD, and postconcussive symptoms were explored. In February 2005, a postal survey was sent to Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who had left combat theaters by September 2004 and lived in Maryland; Washington, DC; northern Virginia; and eastern West Virginia. Immediate neurologic symptoms postinjury were used to identify mild TBI. Adjusted prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals were computed by using Poisson regression. About 12% of 2,235 respondents reported a history consistent with mild TBI, and 11% screened positive for PTSD. Mild TBI history was common among veterans injured by bullets/shrapnel, blasts, motor vehicle crashes, air/water transport, and falls. Factors associated with PTSD included reporting multiple injury mechanisms (prevalence ratio = 3.71 for three or more mechanisms, 95% confidence interval: 2.23, 6.19) and combat mild TBI (prevalence ratio = 2.37, 95% confidence interval: 1.72, 3.28). The strongest factor associated with postconcussive symptoms was PTSD, even after overlapping symptoms were removed from the PTSD score (prevalence ratio = 3.79, 95% confidence interval: 2.57, 5.59).

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