Joint neuropsychological assessment through coma/near coma and level of cognitive functioning assessment scales reduces negative findings in pediatric disorders of consciousness

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Abstract

The present study aimed to: (a) characterize the emergence to a conscious state (CS) in a sample of children and adolescents with severe brain injury during the post-acute rehabilitation and through two different neuropsychological assessment tools: the Rappaport Coma/Near Coma Scale (CNCS) and Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scale (LOCFAS); (b) compare the evolution in patients with brain lesions due to traumatic and non-traumatic etiologies; and (c) describe the relationship between the emergence to a CS and some relevant clinical variables. In this observational prospective longitudinal study, 92 consecutive patients were recruited. Inclusion criteria were severe disorders of consciousness (DOC), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score ≤8 at insult, age 0 to 18 years, and direct admission to inpatient rehabilitation from acute care. The main outcome measures were CNCS and LOCFAS, both administered three and six months after injury. The cohort globally shifted towards milder DOC over time, moving from overall ‘moderate/near coma’ at three months to ‘near/no coma’ at six months post-injury. The shift was captured by both CNCS and LOCFAS. CNCS differentiated levels of coma at best, while LOCFAS was superior in characterizing the emergence from coma. Agreement between scales was fair, and reduced negative findings at less than 10%. Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) vs. non-traumatic brain injury (NTBI) were older and had neurosurgical intervention more frequently. No relation between age and the level of consciousness was found overall. Concurrent administration of CNCS and LOCFAS reduced the rate of false negatives and better detected signs of arousal and awareness. This provides indication to administer both tools to increase measurement precision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Sciences
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Coma/near coma scale
  • Early intensive neuropsychological assessment
  • Level of cognitive functioning assessment scale
  • Minimally conscious state
  • Pediatric brain injury
  • Unresponsive wakefulness syndrome
  • Vegetative state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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