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ADHD Ups Disability Risk From Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

WEDNESDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who experience mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) are more likely to be moderately disabled from the injury, compared to similar patients without ADHD, according to a study published online June 25 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Christopher M. Bonfield, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients with a diagnosis of mild closed head injury and ADHD admitted to a children's hospital (2003 to 2010) as well as the charts of age-matched controls admitted with a diagnosis of mild closed head injury without ADHD. An initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 13 to 15 was used to define mild TBI due to closed head injury.

The researchers found that the ADHD group (48 patients) had a mean age of 12.2 years and the control group (45 patients) had a mean age of 11.14 years. At follow-up, 25 percent of patients with mild TBI who had ADHD were moderately disabled (King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury [KOSCHI] score, 4b) and 56 percent had completely recovered (KOSCHI score, 5b). Two percent of patients with mild TBI without ADHD were moderately disabled and 84 percent had completely recovered at follow-up (P < 0.01). Following mild TBI, significantly more patients with ADHD than without were disabled, even when controlling for age, sex, initial GCS score, hospital length of stay, length of follow-up, mechanism of injury, and presence of other (extracranial) injury.

"Patients who sustain mild TBIs in the setting of a premorbid diagnosis of ADHD are more likely to be moderately disabled by the injury than are patients without ADHD," the authors write.

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