Forty patients with very severe blunt head trauma (post-traumatic amnesia greater than or equal to 1 month) were initially examined at an average of 4.5 months after the injury. The patients were visited in their homes 2.5 years and 10-15 years after the accident and questionnaires were presented to patients, relatives and/or staff. Though physical impairment, dysarthria and defects of memory remained severe in many cases, the psychosocial sequelae presented the most serious problems. Permanent changes in personality and emotion were reported in two thirds and were especially frequent among the youngest patients. The worse overall outcome was seen in cases with severe brainstem involvement or anterior lesions or both. In spite of the great frequency of deficits long-term improvement of functional state was common and several regained at least some work capacity.
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