Occurrence and Severity of Agitated Behavior After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury



Ingrid Poulsen, Copenhagen University Hospital, Glostrup, satellite function on Hvidovre Hospital, Kettegaard Allé 30, DK-2650 Hvidovre, Denmark.

E-mail: Ingrid.Poulsen@regionh.dk



To investigate the occurrence and severity of agitation in patients after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), to identify predictors of agitation and to study interrater reliability for a translated version of the Agitated Behavior Scale (ABS).


Prospective observational study. From November 1, 2006, through October 2007, 46 consecutive patients with TBI were included in the early rehabilitation phase following neurosurgical intervention. Agitated behavior was assessed by the ABS, which was implemented in clinical practice. Logistic regression analysis identified predictors of agitated behavior and Intra Class Correlation was used to analyze reliability.


Agitated behavior occurred in 41% of patients, of whom one third exhibited severely agitated behavior. The interrater reliability between three nurses was good to excellent.


Using ABS as a tool in care of patients with agitated behavior may be effective through working as a common language.

Clinical Relevance

We recommend the use of ABS as a routine assessment in early rehabilitation of patients with TBI.