JOURNAL ARTICLE

Postconcussive symptom reporting among US combat veterans with mild traumatic brain injury from Operation Iraqi Freedom

Andrew J MacGregor, Amber L Dougherty, Janet J Tang, Michael R Galarneau
Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation 2013, 28 (1): 59-67
22688214

OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between postconcussive symptoms and mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) among combat veterans while adjusting for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

PATIENTS: Military personnel with provider-diagnosed MTBI (n = 334) or nonhead injury (n = 658) were identified from the Expeditionary Medical Encounter Database.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Post-Deployment Health Assessments and Re-Assessments were used to examine postconcussive symptoms and self-rated health.

RESULTS: Personnel with MTBI were more likely to report headache (odds ratio [OR] = 3.37; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.19-5.17), back pain (OR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.23-2.60), memory problems (OR = 1.86; 95% CI = 1.20-2.88), tinnitus (OR = 1.63; 95% CI = 1.10-2.41), and dizziness (OR = 2.13; 95% CI = 1.06-4.29) compared with those with non-head injuries. Among those with MTBI, self-reported decline in health was associated with memory problems (OR = 5.07; 95% CI = 2.56-10.02) and dizziness (OR = 10.60; 95% CI = 3.48-32.27).

CONCLUSIONS: Mild traumatic brain injury is associated with reports of negative health consequences among combat veterans even when accounting for co-occurring psychological morbidity. The identification of postconcussive symptoms related to declines in a service member's self-rated health may be important in targeting and prioritizing clinical interventions.

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