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J Trauma. 2010 Jun;68(6):1396-400. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181cf7d1b.

Mild traumatic brain injury in the pediatric population: the role of the pediatrician in routine follow-up.

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Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.



Traumatic brain injury is common in children. Fortunately, most patients suffer mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Appropriate guidelines for follow-up care are not well established. We sought to determine practice experience and preferences of general pediatricians related to follow-up care of MTBI.


Members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council of Community Pediatrics and general pediatricians in the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics participated in a web-based survey regarding practice setting, level of comfort caring for patients with MTBI, and referral patterns for such patients.


A total of 298 pediatricians responded. An urban or suburban practice setting was reported by 83.3% with a wide distribution in practice experience (0-10 years 40.5%, 11-20 years 24.5%, >21 years 35%). Most respondents (54.5%) had cared for at least 2 to 5 patients with MTBI in the past 6 months but only 8% had seen >10 patients. Fifty-nine percent had not participated in continuing medical education activities related to MTBI and 62.2% did not use neurocognitive tests. The majority (89%) thought that they were the appropriate provider for follow-up; this declined to 61.2% for patients with loss of consciousness and only 5.4% if patients had persistent symptoms. Neurologists (75%) were the consultant of choice for referral. Increased practice experience was associated with an increased comfort in determining return to play status.


In this survey, pediatricians thought that they were the most appropriate clinicians to follow-up patients with MTBI. However, most accepted this responsibility without the benefit of specific continuing medical education or using neurocognitive tests. Ensuring the availability of appropriate resources for pediatricians to care for these patients is important.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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