MTBI, head injury, concussion, post-concussive syndrome


Objective: To identify patients with specific ED discharge diagnoses reporting symptoms associated with a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), compare frequency/severity of MTBI symptoms by discharge diagnosis, investigate head injury education provided at ED discharge, and learn about changes made by MTBI patients after injury.

Methods: The Post Concussion Symptom Scale, a demographic questionnaire, and open-ended questions about the impact the injury had on patients' lives were completed by 52 ED patients, at least 2 weeks after injury, discharged with concussion/closed head injury, head laceration, motor vehicle crash (MVC), or whiplash/cervical strain diagnoses.

Results: Between 1 and 23 MTBI symptoms were reported by 84.6% of the participants. Headache and fatigue were the most common; female patients had almost twice as many symptoms on average as male patients. Of MVC patients, 83.3% reported moderate severity scores for all 4 Post Concussion Symptom Scale categories, and these represented the highest overall severity scores. Concussion/closed head injury diagnosis patients received the most head injury education. The majority of patients were more cautious afterinjury.

Conclusion: Most participants reported having MTBI symptoms. Although MVC participants reported the most severe MTBI symptoms, they had the least head injury education. Emergency nurses need to be aware patients may have an MTBI regardless of their presenting symptoms or injury severity.

Original Publication Citation

Stewart, B., Mandleco, B., Wilshaw, R., & Beckstrand, R. L. (2012). Mild traumatic brain injury: Are ED providers identifying which patients are at risk? Journal of Emergency Nursing (39)5, pp 435-442.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Emergency Nursing





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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Other Nursing Commons