Estimation of post-traumatic amnesia in emergency department attendees presenting with head injury

Richards, Louise (2011) Estimation of post-traumatic amnesia in emergency department attendees presenting with head injury. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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To explore whether a semi–structured post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) assessment interview (PTA-I) provides a practicable but equivalent estimation of PTA in patients attending the Emergency Department (ED) with head injury (HI) compared to the established Westmead PTA Scale Revised (R-WPTAS).


PTA was assessed using the R-WPTAS (includes a visual memory component) and the PTA-I (includes retrospective and verbal memory components), in patients attending an ED with (n=30) or without (n= 30) HI. Outcome measures were the Post-concussion Syndrome Checklist (PCSC) and the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). McNemar’s Tests and Chi-square analyses were used to determine the results.


The verbal memory component overestimated PTA in the control group by 24 %. Overall, the PTA-I did not discriminate between HI and control participants. However the retrospective PTA assessment embedded within the PTA-I did, with 100 % accuracy.


The use of a verbal memory component to assess PTA in the ED is not supported by the results of this study. A retrospective PTA assessment appears to allow more accurate decision making regarding the admission criteria used in the ED and has advantages over the R-WPTAS: fewer test materials and no repeat assessments required to achieve an estimate of PTA duration.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: head injury, post-traumatic amnesia, amnesia, outcome, assessment
Subjects: R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: McMillan, Professor Tom and Evans, Professor Jonathon
Date of Award: 2011
Depositing User: Miss Louise E Richards
Unique ID: glathesis:2011-2422
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2011
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:55

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