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    Roberts, Caroline M. Spitz, Gershon and Ponsford, Jennie L. 2016. Comparing Prospectively Recorded Posttraumatic Amnesia Duration With Retrospective Accounts. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. E71.

    Steel, Joanne Ferguson, Alison Spencer, Elizabeth and Togher, Leanne 2016. Speech-language pathologists’ perspectives on cognitive communication assessment during post-traumatic amnesia. Brain Injury, p. 1.

    Marshman, Laurence A.G. Jakabek, David Hennessy, Maria Quirk, Frances and Guazzo, Eric P. 2013. Post-traumatic amnesia. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, Vol. 20, Issue. 11, p. 1475.

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    Kean, Jacob Abell, Malene Malec, James F. and Trzepacz, Paula T. 2011. Rasch Analysis of the Orientation Log and Reconsideration of the Latent Construct During Inpatient Rehabilitation. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Vol. 26, Issue. 5, p. 364.

    Kosch, Y. Browne, S. King, C. Fitzgerald, J. and Cameron, I. 2010. Post-traumatic amnesia and its relationship to the functional outcome of people with severe traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury, Vol. 24, Issue. 3, p. 479.

    Andriessen, Teuntje M. J. C. de Jong, Ben Jacobs, Bram van der Werf, Sieberen P. and Vos, Pieter E. 2009. Sensitivity and specificity of the 3-item memory test in the assessment of post traumatic amnesia. Brain Injury, Vol. 23, Issue. 4, p. 345.

    Taylor, Christine M. Aird, Vanessa H. Tate, Robyn L. and Lammi, Michele H. 2007. Sequence of Recovery During the Course of Emergence From the Minimally Conscious State. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 88, Issue. 4, p. 521.

    Leach, Kathleen Kinsella, Glynda Jackson, Martin and Matyas, Tom 2006. Recovery of components of memory in post-traumatic amnesia. Brain Injury, Vol. 20, Issue. 12, p. 1241.

    Tate, Robyn L. Perdices, Michael Pfaff, Anne and Jurjevic, Linda 2001. Predicting Duration of Posttraumatic Amnesia (PTA) from Early PTA Measurements. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, Vol. 16, Issue. 6, p. 525.


Problems and Pitfalls in the Assessment of Posttraumatic Amnesia

  • Robyn L Tate (a1) and Anne Pfaff (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2012

In the early stages of recovery after a traumatic brain injury, patients usually experience a period of posttraumatic amnesia (PTA) in which they are confused, amnesic for ongoing events, and frequently behaviourally agitated. Although a variety of procedures and instruments are available to measure the duration of PTA, their applications in clinical practice are far from ideal. This review paper describes retrospective and prospective measures of PTA and critically examines variations in item content and scoring procedures. In particular, methods currently available to measure the amnesia component of PTA are especially problematic. The limitations of PTA scales give rise to a number of difficulties that impact upon clinical practice. These include determining precisely when a patient has emerged from PTA, and distinguishing between patients in PTA and those with chronic amnesia. It is concluded that there is a need to revisit basic constructs comprising PTA, and develop an instrument with greater specificity. More focus should be placed on examining the confusional component of PTA, and validity of PTA tests would be improved by measuring attention and behaviour, in addition to orientation and memory.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Associate Professor Robyn Tate, Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney, PO Box 6, Ryde NSW 1680, Australia.
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Brain Impairment
  • ISSN: 1443-9646
  • EISSN: 1839-5252
  • URL: /core/journals/brain-impairment
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