Establishing a prognosis for functional outcome during coma recovery

Theresa Louise Bender Pape*, Sandra Lundgren, Allen W. Heinemann, Ann Guernon, Anita Giobbie-Hurder, Jia Wang, Heidi Roth, Melanie Blahnik, Vanessa Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Primary objective: One of the most challenging tasks for clinicians caring for survivors of severe brain injury (BI) is establishing a prognosis, for long-term functional outcome, while the patient is unconscious. The objective of this article is to report findings regarding the prediction of functional outcomes 1-year after severe BI using data available when the patient is unconscious. Research design: Longitudinal prognostication study. Methods and procedures: Persons unconscious after severe BI who present to inpatient (IP) rehabilitation hospitals in the Midwestern US are enrolled in an ongoing study. Each subject is followed for 1-year and the final outcome interview includes ∼70 questions; 32 of these questions are from the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART). A sample of 63 persons was abstracted from the study database to examine the predictability of 42 independent variables and 16 dichotomous outcomes. Main outcomes and results: Twelve of the 16 dichotomous outcomes were found to be significantly predictable (p<0.05). These involve activity, participation, environment and quality of life outcomes. Ten predictors were found to be significant (p<0.05): aetiology (Closed Head Injury vs. Other BI), presence of urinary tract infection (UTI), seizure, hypertension during IP rehabilitation, veteran benefit eligibility, health insurance, marital status at injury, whether or not recovery of consciousness occurred within 1 year, the number of days between injury and admission to acute rehabilitation and the average length of IP rehabilitation stay. Eight of the 10 variables are available early after injury or when the patient is unconscious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-758
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Coma
  • Functional outcomes
  • Prognostication
  • Unconsciousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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