Background: Scientists have established that traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients who experience multiple medical problems have worse outcomes. Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, are common after TBI; they affect recovery and negatively influence participation in rehabilitation. Sleep apnea, a breathing problem that occurs while a person sleeps, causes further brain damage and problems with thinking, daily functioning, and overall health. Early diagnosis and treatment is particularly important for TBI survivors to maximize the recovery process.
The Problem: There is little information that guides doctors who treat TBI on how to identify sleep apnea during inpatient TBI rehabilitation, a phase in which people experience the potential for a rapid pace of improvement. The Agency for Healthcare Research has highlighted gaps in best methods for identifying sleep apnea and, separately, in helping patients make TBI rehabilitation choices. Partnering with survivors, caregivers, and administrators, we developed this study to compare sleep apnea screening and diagnostic tools in TBI rehabilitation settings. This information will provide clinicians, providers, and patients with the best information for early identification of sleep apnea to remove its negative influence on the pace of recovery in early phases after TBI.
The Goal: We will compare existing screening (Aim 1) and diagnostic tools (Aim 2) in TBI patients undergoing inpatient rehabilitation. For the second aim, we will determine if a more accessible diagnostic test is sufficient to diagnose sleep apnea, compared with the traditional method, which is less accessible to consumers.
Stakeholders and Products: TBI survivors, caregivers, researchers, and policy makers working together on this study helped develop the study questions. Idea exchanges included ways to reach clinicians and TBI survivors and their caregivers via existing educational programming and online tools, such as fact sheets and patient- and caregiver-focused videos. Other traditional methods will include targeting professional magazines, conferences, and research journals that reach those working with TBI survivors and their families at the time of admission to rehabilitation and during the recovery process. This study will occur at rehabilitation hospitals around the country that enroll TBI survivors into a lifetime study called the TBI Model System, funded by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs. Resources are already in place to identify, recruit, follow, and translate information to reach patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other scientists.
- No information provided by awardee
Other Stakeholder Partners
- Joel Scholten, MD, National Director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, Veterans Health Administration
- Sidney R. Hinds II, MD, COL, MC, USA; DoD Brain Health Research Program Coordinator, Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office
- Medical Advisor to the Principal Assistant for Research and Technology, United States Army Medical Research and Material Command
- Joseph "Pepper" Coulter, Stakeholder
- Jill Coulter, Stakeholder