Youth concussion cases often referred to specialists

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 26, 2012

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Pediatric primary care physicians and emergency medicine doctors might not have adequate training or infrastructure to consistently diagnose and manage patients with concussions, said a study published online Nov. 12 in Pediatrics.

Ninety-two percent of surveyed physicians referred at least one patient to a concussion specialist in the past three months, the study said. Primary care doctors were most likely to refer because they didn’t feel comfortable managing the patient (49%) or didn’t have adequate resources to do so (47%), data show.

Referrals among pediatric emergency medicine physicians occurred most commonly because doctors didn’t believe their setting was appropriate for ongoing management of youths with concussions (68%) or because they didn’t think it was their role to manage such patients (30%), the study said.

A majority of participants thought that they had inadequate time and training to complete neurocognitive testing in their setting to help identify minor traumatic brain injuries (link).

Researchers surveyed 145 physicians from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network and the hospital’s emergency department, on their practices and attitudes about concussion diagnosis and treatment.

The study authors recommend including concussion curricula in graduate medical education and continuing medical education. They said standardized evaluation and decision-making tools for identifying and treating concussions also could benefit physicians.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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