Background: We followed a cohort of 118 United States servicemen (n = 112) and women (n = 6) in providing care coordination to veterans discharged from the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida with a primary diagnosis of mild/moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) incurred in combat theatres in Afghanistan and Iraq. Injuries to soldiers were mostly from blasts or sustained in vehicle accidents or indirect enemy fire.
Objective: Objective of the intervention was to determine common neurological disorders among returning wounded warriors with TBI and to render appropriate treatment with neurologists and primary care providers.
Patients and methods: Patients were recruited at the outpatient and inpatient facilities in the Polytrauma Center at the hospital. The average age of patients was 32 years (standard deviation 8.4 years). Twenty one veterans were classified as having an 80%–100% functional disability due to combat related injuries. Diagnoses of neurological disorders among this cohort were obtained from patient charts and administrative data bases using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9).
Results: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) was the most common comorbidity (n = 82) reported among wounded warriors. Other common secondary neurological ailments included chronic headaches (n = 46), Lumbago (n = 28), Mild cognitive defects (n = 26) and issues concerning Gait and Balance (n = 16). Three veterans had a diagnosis of Seizures and Epilepsy associated with trauma. Most veterans presented themselves with multiple comorbidities. After a year of treatment, though symptoms lingered, patients reported improved quality of life.
Conclusion: The neurological effects of injuries from war are many. Intensive care coordination appears to alleviate severity of symptoms over time.
© 2015 Published by Elsevier Inc.