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Joint Neuropsychological Assessment through Coma/Near Coma and Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scales Reduces Negative Findings in Pediatric Disorders of Consciousness

1
School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, and Centre for Medical Engineering, King’s College, London SE1 7EU, UK
2
Neuropsychological and Cognitive-behavioral Service, Neurophysiatric Department, Scientific Institute, I.R.C.C.S. Eugenio Medea, 23842 Bosisio Parini, Italy
3
Neurophysiatric Department, Scientific Institute, I.R.C.C.S. Eugenio Medea, 23842 Bosisio Parini, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(3), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10030162
Received: 1 February 2020 / Revised: 28 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 March 2020 / Published: 12 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Study of Altered State of Consciousness)
The present study aimed to: (a) characterize the emergence to a conscious state (CS) in a sample of children and adolescents with severe brain injury during the post-acute rehabilitation and through two different neuropsychological assessment tools: the Rappaport Coma/Near Coma Scale (CNCS) and Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scale (LOCFAS); (b) compare the evolution in patients with brain lesions due to traumatic and non-traumatic etiologies; and (c) describe the relationship between the emergence to a CS and some relevant clinical variables. In this observational prospective longitudinal study, 92 consecutive patients were recruited. Inclusion criteria were severe disorders of consciousness (DOC), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score ≤8 at insult, age 0 to 18 years, and direct admission to inpatient rehabilitation from acute care. The main outcome measures were CNCS and LOCFAS, both administered three and six months after injury. The cohort globally shifted towards milder DOC over time, moving from overall ‘moderate/near coma’ at three months to ‘near/no coma’ at six months post-injury. The shift was captured by both CNCS and LOCFAS. CNCS differentiated levels of coma at best, while LOCFAS was superior in characterizing the emergence from coma. Agreement between scales was fair, and reduced negative findings at less than 10%. Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) vs. non-traumatic brain injury (NTBI) were older and had neurosurgical intervention more frequently. No relation between age and the level of consciousness was found overall. Concurrent administration of CNCS and LOCFAS reduced the rate of false negatives and better detected signs of arousal and awareness. This provides indication to administer both tools to increase measurement precision. View Full-Text
Keywords: pediatric brain injury; vegetative state; unresponsive wakefulness syndrome; minimally conscious state; early intensive neuropsychological assessment; Coma/Near Coma Scale; Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scale pediatric brain injury; vegetative state; unresponsive wakefulness syndrome; minimally conscious state; early intensive neuropsychological assessment; Coma/Near Coma Scale; Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scale
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Molteni, E.; Colombo, K.; Pastore, V.; Galbiati, S.; Recla, M.; Locatelli, F.; Galbiati, S.; Fedeli, C.; Strazzer, S. Joint Neuropsychological Assessment through Coma/Near Coma and Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scales Reduces Negative Findings in Pediatric Disorders of Consciousness. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 162.

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