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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 May;188(5 Suppl):S71-6.

Early identification of mild traumatic brain injury in female victims of domestic violence.

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  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



Domestic violence and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are major societal problems with public health implications. The inter-relationship between this specific form of violence and TBI has not been explored. However, a clinically relevant relationship is suggested by recent outcome data showing that TBI survivors who are victims of assault are more prone to a suboptimal outcome.


This observational study screened women who presented to 3 metropolitan emergency departments for health issues associated with domestic violence for a possible secondary mild TBI.


Over a 7- to 9-month survey period, a total of 169 women with health issues directly attributable to domestic violence and who were referred to sexual assault-domestic violence health staff were identified. Thirty percent (n = 51) agreed to participate in this survey. A positive loss of consciousness on at least one occasion was reported in 30% of the respondents, and 67% of women reported residual problems that were potentially head-injury related.


These data argue for greater vigilance in screening domestic violence victims for mild TBI because earlier identification and treatment of any postconcussive syndrome symptoms seems to diminish their adverse impact on outcome.

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