New Study Focuses on Pediatric Disability After Brain Injury

The incidence of disability in children following traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be the focus of a new study by investigators at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


The incidence of disability in children following traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be the focus of a new study by investigators at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a five-year, $3.2 million grant that will allow the researchers to:

  • Determine the incidence of mild, moderate, and severe TBI in children and adolescents 0-18 years of age
  • Determine the disability from different severities of TBI in children of different age groups
  • Determine how this disability changes over time after injury
  • Identify risk and protective factors for disability from TBI

“This study will address many of the unanswered questions surrounding pediatric TBI,” says Dr. Fred Rivara, the study’s principal investigator.

“While previous population-based studies have estimated the incidence of TBI, they have not provided population-based estimates of subsequent disability. This information is important for the appropriate planning and delivery of services to children disabled by TBI.

The study will involve 1000 patients, 0-18 years of age, with mild, moderate or severe TBI. Subjects will be identified in emergency departments, hospitals and medical examiners in King County, Wash., and Philadelphia County, Pa.

This sample will be stratified by severity and age to allow adequate numbers of individuals at each severity level and each age group for study.

The researchers will examine patient and family disability pre-injury and at 3, 12, 24, and 36 months post-TBI. This will include quality of life, social, emotional, behavioral and academic disability in patients and family functioning and parenting stress.

In addition to Rivara, co-investigators are Drs. Monica Vavilala, Tom Koepsell and Ken Jaffe; and Nancy Temkin, Ph.D. (all of the University of Washington); and Dr. Dennis Durbin from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.