Functional Outcomes over the First Year after Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in the Prospective, Longitudinal TRACK-TBI Study

Michael A. McCrea, Joseph T. Giacino, Jason Barber, Nancy R. Temkin, Lindsay D. Nelson, Harvey S. Levin, Sureyya Dikmen, Murray Stein, Yelena G. Bodien, Kim Boase, Sabrina R. Taylor, Mary Vassar, Pratik Mukherjee, Claudia Robertson, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, David O. Okonkwo, Amy J. Markowitz, Geoffrey T. Manley, Opeolu Adeoye, Neeraj BadjatiaM. Ross Bullock, Randall Chesnut, John D. Corrigan, Karen Crawford, Ann Christine Duhaime, Richard Ellenbogen, V. Ramana Feeser, Adam R. Ferguson, Brandon Foreman, Raquel Gardner, Etienne Gaudette, Dana Goldman, Luis Gonzalez, Shankar Gopinath, Rao Gullapalli, J. Claude Hemphill, Gillian Hotz, Sonia Jain, C. Dirk Keene, Frederick K. Korley, Joel Kramer, Natalie Kreitzer, Chris Lindsell, Joan Machamer, Christopher Madden, Alastair Martin, Thomas McAllister, Randall Merchant, Laura B. Ngwenya, Florence Noel, Amber Nolan, Eva Palacios, Daniel Perl, Ava Puccio, Miri Rabinowitz, Jonathan Rosand, Angelle Sander, Gabriella Satris, David Schnyer, Seth Seabury, Mark Sherer, Arthur Toga, Alex Valadka, Kevin Wang, John K. Yue, Esther Yuh, Ross Zafonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Importance: Moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (msTBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the US and worldwide. Few studies have enabled prospective, longitudinal outcome data collection from the acute to chronic phases of recovery after msTBI. Objective: To prospectively assess outcomes in major areas of life function at 2 weeks and 3, 6, and 12 months after msTBI. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cohort study, as part of the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in TBI (TRACK-TBI) study, was conducted at 18 level 1 trauma centers in the US from February 2014 to August 2018 and prospectively assessed longitudinal outcomes, with follow-up to 12 months postinjury. Participants were patients with msTBI (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 3-12) extracted from a larger group of patients with mild, moderate, or severe TBI who were enrolled in TRACK-TBI. Data analysis took place from October 2019 to April 2021. Exposures: Moderate or severe TBI. Main Outcomes and Measures: The Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended (GOSE) and Disability Rating Scale (DRS) were used to assess global functional status 2 weeks and 3, 6, and 12 months postinjury. Scores on the GOSE were dichotomized to determine favorable (scores 4-8) vs unfavorable (scores 1-3) outcomes. Neurocognitive testing and patient reported outcomes at 12 months postinjury were analyzed. Results: A total of 484 eligible patients were included from the 2679 individuals in the TRACK-TBI study. Participants with severe TBI (n = 362; 283 men [78.2%]; median [interquartile range] age, 35.5 [25-53] years) and moderate TBI (n = 122; 98 men [80.3%]; median [interquartile range] age, 38 [25-53] years) were comparable on demographic and premorbid variables. At 2 weeks postinjury, 36 of 290 participants with severe TBI (12.4%) and 38 of 93 participants with moderate TBI (41%) had favorable outcomes (GOSE scores 4-8); 301 of 322 in the severe TBI group (93.5%) and 81 of 103 in the moderate TBI group (78.6%) had moderate disability or worse on the DRS (total score ≥4). By 12 months postinjury, 142 of 271 with severe TBI (52.4%) and 54 of 72 with moderate TBI (75%) achieved favorable outcomes. Nearly 1 in 5 participants with severe TBI (52 of 270 [19.3%]) and 1 in 3 with moderate TBI (23 of 71 [32%]) reported no disability (DRS score 0) at 12 months. Among participants in a vegetative state at 2 weeks, 62 of 79 (78%) regained consciousness and 14 of 56 with available data (25%) regained orientation by 12 months. Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, patients with msTBI frequently demonstrated major functional gains, including recovery of independence, between 2 weeks and 12 months postinjury. Severe impairment in the short term did not portend poor outcomes in a substantial minority of patients with msTBI. When discussing prognosis during the first 2 weeks after injury, clinicians should be particularly cautious about making early, definitive prognostic statements suggesting poor outcomes and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in patients with msTBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-992
Number of pages11
JournalJAMA neurology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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