Substance use is commonly associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI). We investigate associations between active substance use, peri-injury factors, and outcome after TBI across three U.S. Level I trauma centers. TBI subjects from the prospective Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot (TRACK-TBI Pilot) with Marshall computed tomography (CT) score 1–3, no neurosurgical procedure/operation, and admission urine toxicology screen (tox+/−) were extracted. Associations between tox+/−, comorbidities, hospital variables, and six-month functional (GOSE) and neuropsychiatric (PCL-C, BSI18, RPQ-13, SWLS) outcomes were analyzed. Multivariable regression was performed for associations significant on univariate analysis with odds ratios (mOR) presented. Significance assessed at p < 0.05. In 133 subjects, tox+/tox− were 29.1%/72.9%. Tox+ was younger (35.5/43.6-years, p = 0.018), trended toward male sex (80.6%/63.9%, p = 0.067), was associated with history of seizures (27.8%/10.3%, p = 0.012), self-reported substance use (44.4%/17.5%, p = 0.001), prior TBI (58.8%/34.1%, p = 0.009), GCS < 15 (69.4%/48.4%, p = 0.031) and blood alcohol level >0.08-mg/dl (55.6%/30.8%, p = 0.022). In CT-negative subjects, tox+ was associated with increased hospital admission (95.7%/66.7%, p = 0.034). At six-months, tox+ was associated with screening positive for post-traumatic stress disorder (PCL-C: 40.0%/15.9%; mOR = 8.24, p = 0.022) and psychiatric symptoms (BSI18: 40.0%/14.3%, mOR = 11.06, p = 0.023). Active substance use in TBI may confound GCS assessment, triage to higher level of care, and be associated with increased six-month neuropsychiatric symptoms. Substance use screening should be integrated into standard emergency/acute care TBI protocols to optimize management and resource utilization. Clinicians should be vigilant in providing education, counselling, and follow-up for TBI patients with substance use.

Functional outcome, Level of care, Neuropsychiatric outcome, Risk factors, Substance use, Toxicology, Traumatic brain injury,
Journal of Clinical Neuroscience
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Department of Public Health

Yue, J.K, Phelps, R.R.L. (Ryan R.L.), Winkler, E.A, Deng, H. (Hansen), Upadhyayula, P.S. (Pavan S.), Vassar, M.J, … Manley, G. (2020). Substance use on admission toxicology screen is associated with peri-injury factors and six-month outcome after traumatic brain injury. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2020.02.021