Nonsurgical interventions after mild traumatic brain injury: a systematic review. Results of the International Collaboration on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Prognosis.Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Mar; 95(3 Suppl):S257-64.AP
To synthesize the best available evidence regarding the impact of nonsurgical interventions on persistent symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).
MEDLINE and other databases were searched (2001-2012) with terms including "rehabilitation." Inclusion criteria were original, peer-reviewed research published in English and other languages. References were also identified from the bibliographies of eligible articles.
Controlled trials and cohort and case-control studies were selected according to predefined criteria. Studies had to have a minimum of 30 MTBI cases and assess nonsurgical interventions using clinically relevant outcomes such as self-rated recovery.
Eligible studies were critically appraised using a modification of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) criteria. Two reviewers independently reviewed each study and extracted data from the admissible studies into evidence tables.
The evidence was synthesized qualitatively according to the modified SIGN criteria. Recommendations were linked to the evidence tables using a best-evidence synthesis. After 77,914 records were screened, only 2 of 7 studies related to nonsurgical interventions were found to have a low risk of bias. One studied the effect of a scheduled telephone intervention offering counseling and education on outcome and found a significantly better outcome for symptoms (6.6 difference in adjusted mean symptom score; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-12.0), but no difference in general health outcome at 6 months after MTBI. The other was a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of 6 days of bed rest on posttraumatic complaints 6 months postinjury, compared with no bed rest, and found no effect.
Some evidence suggests that early, reassuring educational information is beneficial after MTBI. Well-designed intervention studies are required to develop effective treatments and improve outcomes for adults and children at risk for persistent symptoms after MTBI.