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Awarded Grant - Acute Care

The Effect of Telephone Follow-up on Outcome in Mild TBI

FOA Number: CE03-023 - Grants for Acute Care, Rehabilitation and Disability Research
Project Period: 09/01/03 – 08/31/06
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE023226-01
Principal Investigator: Kathleen R. Bell, MD
University of Washington
1959 NE Pacific Street
Box 356490
Seattle, WA 98195-6490
Phone: 206-685-0935
Fax: 206-685-3244


Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) occurs in more than 1 million persons per year in the United States. This number is likely to be an underestimation because of the problems in identifying MTBI cases. Although spontaneous improvement is expected, recovery can be prolonged, and 15% or more persons with MTBI still have symptoms at 6 months. But few interventions have been studied in this population. This project will use a randomized, controlled study to compare the efficacy of two methods of preventive MTBI management to improve the rate of recovery, prevent persistent symptoms, and improve function. Effective early treatment and interventions aimed at preventing complications after MTBI may shorten morbidity and reduce costs associated with persistent symptoms or disability.

Aim 1 will compare the effect of scheduled telephone contacts or a toll-free information line with the effect of usual care on the persistence of symptoms in persons with MTBI. Researchers will recruit and assess subjects in the emergency department (ED) of a Level 1 trauma center and will randomize them into one of three groups: usual care, usual care and toll-free number for information, and usual care, toll-free number, and scheduled telephone follow-up. All three groups will be assessed at 6 months by telephone for presence and duration of symptoms.

Aim 2 will examine the effect of scheduled telephone contacts or a toll-free information line, compared with usual care, on function after MTBI by measuring in all three groups health and emotional states, daily scheduled activities, employment, and satisfaction with life at 6 months.

Aim 3 will examine effects by gender or race. The study will determine the effect on persons with MTBI of two low-cost, easily implemented techniques and compare their outcomes with regard to symptom persistence and function.