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Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):

, 101, 11, P2041-2050


In response to the need to better define the natural history of emerging consciousness after traumatic brain injury and to better describe the characteristics of the condition commonly labeled posttraumatic amnesia, a case definition and diagnostic criteria for the posttraumatic confusional state (PTCS) were developed. This project was completed by the Confusion Workgroup of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest group. The case definition was informed by an exhaustive literature review and expert opinion of workgroup members from multiple disciplines. The workgroup reviewed 2466 abstracts and extracted evidence from 44 articles. Consensus was reached through teleconferences, face-to-face meetings, and 3 rounds of modified Delphi voting. The case definition provides detailed description of PTCS (1) core neurobehavioral features, (2) associated neurobehavioral features, (3) functional implications, (4) exclusion criteria, (5) lower boundary, and (6) criteria for emergence. Core neurobehavioral features include disturbances of attention, orientation, and memory as well as excessive fluctuation. Associated neurobehavioral features include emotional and behavioral disturbances, sleep-wake cycle disturbance, delusions, perceptual disturbances, and confabulation. The lower boundary distinguishes PTCS from the minimally conscious state, while upper boundary is marked by significant improvement in the 4 core and 5 associated features. Key research goals are establishment of cutoffs on assessment instruments and determination of levels of behavioral function that distinguish persons in PTCS from those who have emerged to the period of continued recovery.

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Mark Sherer, PhD; Douglas I. Katz, MD; Yelena G. Bodien, PhD; David B. Arciniegas, MD; Cady Block, PhD; Sonja Blum, MD; Matt Doiron, MS;, Kim Frey, PhD; Joseph T. Giacino, PhD; Min Jeong P. Graf, MD; Brian Greenwald, MD; Flora M. Hammond, MD; Kathleen Kalmar, PhD; Jacob Kean, PhD;, Marilyn F. Kraus, MD; Risa Nakase-Richardson, PhD; Shital Pavawalla, PhD; Amy Rosenbaum, PhD; Donald T. Stuss, PhD; Stuart A. Yablon, MD