Neuropsychological characteristics of the confusional state following traumatic brain injury

Academic Article


  • Objectives: Individuals with moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) experience a transitory state of impaired consciousness and confusion often called posttraumatic confusional state (PTCS). This study examined the neuropsychological profile of PTCS. Methods: Neuropsychometric profiles of 349 individuals in the TBI Model Systems National Database were examined 4 weeks post-TBI (±2 weeks). The PTCS group was subdivided into Low (n=46) and High Performing PTCS (n=45) via median split on an orientation/amnesia measure, and compared to participants who had emerged from PTCS (n=258). Neuropsychological patterns were examined using multivariate analyses of variance and mixed model analyses of covariance. Results: All groups were globally impaired, but severity differed across groups (F(40,506)=3.44; p<.001; Åp 2 =.206). Rate of forgetting (memory consolidation) was impaired in all groups, but failed to differentiate them (F(4,684)=0.46; p=.762). In contrast, executive memory control was significantly more impaired in PTCS groups than the emerged group: Intrusion errors: F(2,343)=8.78; p<.001; Å p 2 =.049; False positive recognition errors: F(2,343)=3.70; p<.05; Å 2 =.021. However, non-memory executive control and other executive memory processes did not differentiate those in versus emerged from PTCS. Conclusions: Executive memory control deficits in the context of globally impaired cognition characterize PTCS. This pattern differentiates individuals in and emerged from PTCS during the acute recovery period following TBI.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Keelan RE; Mahoney EJ; Sherer M; Hart T; Giacino J; Bodien YG; Nakase-Richardson R; Dams-O'Connor K; Novack TA; Vanderploeg RD
  • Start Page

  • 302
  • End Page

  • 313
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 3