Toronto researchers have developed a tool they say can help doctors determine who is most likely to suffer concussion symptoms that persist months after injury.
The experts hope their calculator can help identify high-risk patients who require additional monitoring, noting a raft of sometimes debilitating symptoms that can include headache, dizziness, neck pain, concentration problems, absentmindedness and irritability.
Experts at Unity Health Network used data from a recent study to develop a calculator that assesses the risk of prolonged post-concussion symptoms, or PPCS.
The calculator, ideally used on adult patients when diagnosed, was introduced Thursday by scientists from Toronto Rehab-UHN's KITE Research Institute. It generates risk scores based on patients' answers patients to five questions.
The tool is based on research that looked at data on past concussion patients in Ontario. They found that 12.5 per cent experienced prolonged post-concussion symptoms, which can include anything that persist three months after injury.
Dr. Mark Bayley, the medical director at Toronto Rehab, said the number is likely around 15 per cent when accounting for those who had extended symptoms but didn't seek additional care.
The researchers determined that people older than 61 years of age and adults with "high levels of health-care usage" in the year before their concussion were higher risk, while those with a history of psychiatric disorders, anxiety or depression.
The findings were published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2021.
The Canadian Press