Spectrum of outcomes following traumatic brain injury—relationship between functional impairment and health-related quality of life

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The outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is heterogeneous and poorly defined and physical disability scales like the extended Glasgow Outcome Score (GOSE) while providing valuation information in terms of broad categorisation of outcome are unlikely to capture the full spectrum of deficits. Quality of life questionnaires such as SF-36 are emerging as potential tools to help characterise factors important to patients’ recovery. This study assessed the association between physical disability and subjective health rating. The relationship is of value as it may help evaluate the impact of TBI on patients’ lives and facilitate the delivery of appropriate neuro-rehabilitation services.


A single-centre retrospective study was undertaken to assess the relationship between physical outcome as measured by GOSE and quality of life captured by the SF-36 questionnaire. Cronbach’s alpha was calculated for each of the eight SF-36 domains to measure internal consistency of the test. Multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to look at the association between GOSE and the physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component scores on the SF-36. Finally, we performed a generalised linear mixed model (GLMM) to assess the relative contribution of GOSE score, age at the time of trauma, sex and TBI duration towards MCS and PCS rating.


There is a statistically significant difference in the MCS and PCS scores based on patients’ GOSE scores. The mean scores of the eight SF-36 domains showed significant association with GOSE. GLMM demonstrated that GOSE was the strongest predictor of PCS and MCS. Age was an important variable in the PCS score while time following trauma was a significant predictor of MCS rating.


This study highlights that patients’ physical outcome following TBI is a strong predictor of the subjective mental and physical health. Nevertheless, there remains tremendous variability in individual SF-36 scores for each GOSE category, highlighting that additional factors play a role in determining quality of life.

traumatic brain injury, quality of life, SF-36, Glasgow Outcome Scale
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Acta Neurochirurgica
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Medical Research Council (G0802251)
European Commission (602150)
This study was supported by National Institute for Healthcare Research (NIHR, UK) through the Acute Brain Injury and Repair theme of the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Center to PH and AH, an NIHR Senior Investigator Award to DM and an NIHR Research Professorship to PH. Authors were also supported by a European Union Framework Program 7 grant (CENTER-TBI; Grant Agreement No. 602150). AH is supported by MRC (G0802251).