Evaluation of a follow-up program for mild traumatic brain injury in schoolchildren

R. Nowacki*, N. van Eldik, M. Eikens, R. Roijen, N. Haga, D. Schott, T. Simons-Sporken, M. Wennekes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Mild traumatic brain injury is a common condition in childhood. Although classified as mild, post-concussive symptoms may persist and interfere with daily activities. Because no established guidelines exist with respect to follow-up medical care for these children, there may be a delay in receiving appropriate care. We developed a follow up program to screen for persistent symptoms and if necessary, refer patients for further medical assistance.

Methods: From July 2010 until December 2013, eligible children aged 4-18 years who presented after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury were included. All patients received a phone call after 6 weeks. After a period of 3 months, both their schoolteacher and parents were asked to complete in a questionnaire. The results were discussed monthly by a multidisciplinary team.

Results: A total of 305 children were enrolled in our follow-up program. Headache was the most common acute symptom upon presentation (63%). Overall, 19% of all patients had problems, either at 6 weeks or 3 months. 14% of these patients were referred for special care. Most common persistent post-concussive symptoms were headache (32%), cognitive problems (23%) and behavioural problems (16%). After a period of two years, a review of patient charts revealed that all of the problems were resolved.

Conclusion: One fifth of the children exhibit post-concussive symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury. Education of patients and caregivers and a follow up visit if needed applied appropriate care at an early stage to minimise physical and mental problems. (C) 2016 European Paediatric Neurology Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-387
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)
  • Follow-up
  • Post-concussive symptoms
  • Cognition
  • Paediatrics


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