“Previous studies have demonstrated that post-concussive symptoms can be broadly categorized into physical, emotional, and cogitative,” wrote Matthew A. Eisenberg, MD, and researchers, “but neither the incidences of these symptoms nor their relative burden throughout the recovery period have been well described in children.”
The researchers conducted secondary analyses of a prospective cohort of patients aged 11 to 22 years who presented with an acute concussion to the emergency department of a children’s hospital. Inspectors administered the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire to establish baseline assessments, and then for three months post-injury or until complete resolution of all symptoms.
The most common symptoms encountered at presentation were headache, fatigue, dizziness and taking longer to think. Symptoms that were not initially present but developed during follow-up included sleep disturbance, frustration, forgetfulness and fatigue.
Nausea, depression, dizziness and double-vision abated most quickly, whereas other symptoms lasted longer: irritability (median, 16 days), sleep disturbance (16 days), frustration (14 days) and poor concentration (14 days).
One month after concussion, almost one-quarter of children complained of headache. Fatigue affected more than 20% and almost 20% stated taking longer to think.
“Although the majority of children initially present to care after a concussion with symptoms of headache, dizziness, and fatigue,” wrote the researchers, “new symptoms often develop during the recovery course, particularly those that have a substantial emotional component.”