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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2019 Jul;30:117-127. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2019.03.017. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Concussion: A Global Perspective.

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Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong; PICU, The Hong Kong Children's Hospital, Hong Kong. Electronic address:
Department of Pediatrics, Alberta Children's Hospital, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Child Neurology, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.


Concussion, also referred to as mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is a common pediatric condition. This article reviews global perspectives on the epidemiology, treatment, and prognosis of concussion in children. A Pubmed search was conducted using Clinical Queries with the key terms "concussion" and "mild traumatic brain injury," and the search was limited to "children." The search strategy included meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, clinical trials, and reviews. The majority of publications were from Canada and the United States. Prevalence estimates vary widely according to case definition and studied population. Due to under-reporting and to the widely varying definitions of concussion, it is difficult to estimate how common the condition is. Common causes of concussions include sports injuries, motor vehicle collisions, bicycle accidents, falls, and assaults. Diagnosis is mainly clinical. Because concussion results from a disturbance in brain function rather than structural injury, neuroimaging studies, such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, are not routinely recommended. Treatment generally involves physical and cognitive rest, with a gradual return to activities, whereas prolonged rest may actually worsen outcomes. Helmets when bicycling, skiing, snowboarding, motor biking, placing age limits on certain types of contact sports, and encouragement of fair play are recommended to decrease the impact of head injuries but they do not prevent concussions. Overall outcomes are generally favorable. The symptoms and signs of concussion usually resolve within 10 days; most patients recover in 48-72 hours. Global perspectives on management and prognosis are lacking. Concussions or MTBIs are common childhood injuries and the prognosis is good but information is predominantly from Canada and the USA. Research in other countries in particular low and middle income countries is vital to have a global perspective on MTBI.


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