Journal:Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):85, 66, 4, 227-231
This study investigated the suspicion that a significant proportion of individuals having spinal cord injury (SCI) also sustain a concomitant undiagnosed occult head injury during the trauma accident. The criteria for high risk of head injury included the following: (1) quadriplegia with high energy deceleration accident, (2) loss of consciousness at time of injury, (3) brainstem or cortical neurologic indicators, or (4) respiratory support required at time of injury. In this study, 67 patients admitted to the rehabilitation unit were given a neuropsychologic evaluation a median of 48 days after injury. Motor free scales used were the Galveston Orientation and Amnesia Test (GOAT), Quick Test, Raven Progressive matrices, serial 7s, Shipley Hartford, Stroop Color/Word Interference, and the Wechsler Memory Scale Associate Learning Tests. Forty-three of the 67 patients (64%) scored mildly to profoundly impaired on the test battery. Evidence of poor premorbid academic history was present in 19 (44%) of those with impaired performance on the neurologic evaluation and in only three (13%) of those scoring unimpaired. Consequently, 56% (24/43) of the impaired had no previous record of scholastic difficulties, presumably acquiring cognitive impairment at the time of injury. The implications of this high incidence of impaired cognitive functioning for treatment of individuals with SCI are significant.