Predictors of Outcome Following Acquired Brain Injury in Children

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Acquired brain injury (ABI) in children and adolescents can result from multiple causes, including trauma, central nervous system infections, noninfectious disorders (epilepsy, hypoxia/ischemia, genetic/metabolic disorders), tumors, and vascular abnormalities. Prediction of outcomes is important, to target interventions, allocate resources, provide education to family or caregivers, and begin appropriate planning for the future. Researchers have identified several factors associated with better or worse outcomes after ABI, including variables related to the injury itself, postinjury factors related to intervention or trajectory of recovery, and preinjury or demographic factors. When examining the scientific literature, it is important to identify how “outcome” is defined, as the predictors may change depending on the outcome studied. In addition, key variables may be specific to the etiology of injury. Therefore, predictors of outcome cannot be generalized across the various etiologies of ABI, and this review will discuss predictors within the context of multiple etiologies of ABI. This article reviews the current literature on predicting outcomes after pediatric ABI, and areas in need of further research are discussed.

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