Neuropsychological Symptom Presentation after Electrical Injury

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Abstract

Objective

This study explored the relationship of neuropsy-chological complaints to accident- and injury-related characteristics, affective state, and work status in a group of electrical injury (EI) patients.

Methods

Sixty-three EI patients and 22 electricians with no history of electrical shock completed the Neuropsychological Symptom Checklist and the Beck Depression Inventory as part of an extensive neuropsychological evaluation.

Results

The EI group endorsed significantly more physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms than did the controls. Symptom complaints were not related to injury parameters or litigation status. Only the time interval between injury and assessment accounted for differences in symptom presentation, with patients in the postacute stages of recovery showing the most cognitive and emotional complaints.

Conclusion

The neuropsychological syndrome of electrical injury survival includes physical, cognitive, and emotional complaints. Considering that most electrically injured patients are treated within the acute medical setting, greater attention needs to be directed early in the course of treatment toward addressing neuropsychologic and psychiatric issues.

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