Which physical findings are characteristic of postconcussion syndrome (PCS)?

Updated: Sep 24, 2018
  • Author: Eric L Legome, MD; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

In general, the findings at physical examination are normal. The patient may exhibit subtle neurologic findings, but objective focal motor deficits should raise a concern about an undiagnosed intracranial bleed. Other findings may include the following:

  • Depressed affect

  • Decreased ability to smell and taste

  • Neurasthenia or hyperesthesia (nondermatomal distribution)

  • Cognitive deficits

    • Neuropsychological testing has revealed that deficits can persist 6 months or longer when other symptoms are present.

    • These deficits include difficulties with vocabulary, short-term and intermediate-term memory, attention, cognitive flexibility, information processing, object recall, drawing, and mathematics.

    • Patients without other subjective symptoms usually perform normally on these tests.

    • However, testing also has revealed that these deficits resolve when other somatic and neurologic symptoms do not.


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