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Post-traumatic amnesia
  1. Thomas D Parker1,2,
  2. Richard Rees1,
  3. Sangeerthana Rajagopal1,
  4. Colette Griffin1,
  5. Luke Goodliffe1,
  6. Michael Dilley1,
  7. Peter Owen Jenkins1
  1. 1 Atkinson Morley Neuroscience Unit, St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Peter Owen Jenkins, St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London SO22 5DG, UK; peter.jenkins1{at}


Post-traumatic amnesia is the transient state of altered brain function that may follow a traumatic brain injury. At a practical level, an individual has emerged from post-traumatic amnesia when he or she is fully orientated and with return of continuous memory. However, the clinical manifestations are often more complex, with numerous cognitive domains commonly affected, as well as behaviour. In the acute setting, post-traumatic amnesia may easily go unrecognised; this is problematic as it has important implications for both immediate management and for longer-term prognosis. We therefore recommend its careful clinical assessment and prospective evaluation using validated tools. Patients in post-traumatic amnesia who have behavioural disturbance can be particularly challenging to manage. Behavioural and environmental measures form the mainstay of its treatment while avoiding pharmacological interventions where possible, as they may worsen agitation. Patients need assessing regularly to determine their need for further rehabilitation and to facilitate safe discharge planning.

  • amnesia
  • cognition
  • head injury
  • behavioural disorder

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  • Contributors POJ conceived the paper. TDP and RR wrote the main draft and contributed equally to the work. All other authors critically revised the paper and approved the final version. POJ is the guarantor.

  • Funding TDP is funded by a NIHR Clinical Lectureship.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned. Externally peer reviewed by Alan Carson, Edinburgh, UK, and John Baker, Cornwall, UK.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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