ASHA journals
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Cognition in acute TBI (Johnson & Hall, 2022)

journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-20, 19:21 authored by Leslie W. Johnson, Kellyn D. Hall
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe and synthesize the current research regarding the prevailing cognitive domains impacted by acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) in adults. Standardized and nonstandardized assessments of cognitive function and comorbidities influencing cognitive function during the initial stages of recovery are presented to help guide clinical assessment.
Method: A scoping review, guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses framework, was used to explore four electronic databases. Searches identified peer-reviewed empirical literature addressing aspects of cognitive domains impacted after TBI, cognitive assessment, and comorbidities impacting assessment in adults after acute TBI.
Results: A total of 1,072 records were identified and reduced to 75 studies based on inclusion criteria. The cognitive domains most impacted in acute TBI were memory and executive function. The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) was the most frequently used tool to assess cognitive abilities, despite it being a measurement of consciousness, not of cognition. Psychological changes were the most commonly noted comorbidity impacting cognitive assessment.
Conclusions: Assessment of cognition after acute TBI requires a multifaceted approach that considers the typical profile of cognitive impairment, as well as patient-specific factors influencing cognitive abilities following initial brain injury. The present results support the generally held view that memory and executive function deficits are common cognitive difficulties associated with acute TBI in adults. The GCS remains the most widely used tool to assess function, though numerous tools are available that specifically address cognitive domains. Acute medical comorbidities common within this stage of injury are highlighted, as well as gaps of clinical knowledge that remain.

Supplemental Material S1. Citations of included review studies.

Supplemental Material S2. Summary of review studies.

Supplemental Material S3. Cognitive assessments identified.

Johnson, L. W., & Hall, K. D. (2022). A scoping review of cognitive assessment in adults with acute traumatic brain injury. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication.