Utility of the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation as a screening tool for mild traumatic brain injury in a civilian trauma population

Melvin E. Stone, Saman Safadjou, Benjamin Farber, Nerissa Velazco, Jianliang Man, Srinivas H. Reddy, Roxanne Todor, Sheldon Teperman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) constitutes 75% of more than 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries annually. There exists no consensus on point-of-care screening for mTBI. The Military Acute Concussion Evaluation (MACE) is a quick and easy test used by the US Army to screen for mTBI; however, its utility in civilian trauma is unclear. It has two parts: a history section and the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC) score (0-30) previously validated in sports injury. As a performance improvement project, our institution sought to evaluate the MACE as a concussion screening tool that could be used by housestaff in a general civilian trauma population. METHODS: From June 2013 to May 2014, patients 18 years to 65 years old with suspected concussion were given the MACE within 72 hours of admission to our urban Level I trauma center. Patients with a positive head computed tomography were excluded. Demographic data and MACE scores were recorded in prospect. Concussion was defined as loss of consciousness and/or posttraumatic amnesia; concussed patients were compared with those nonconcussed. Sensitivity and specificity for each respective MACE score were used to plot a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. An ROC curve area of 0.8 was set as the benchmark for a good screening test to distinguish concussion from nonconcussion. RESULTS: There were 84 concussions and 30 nonconcussed patients. Both groups were similar; however, the concussion group had a lower mean MACE score than the nonconcussed patients. Data analysis demonstrated the sensitivity and specificity of a range of MACE scores used to generate an ROC curve area of only 0.65. CONCLUSION: The MACE showed a lower mean score for individuals with concussion, defined by loss of consciousness and/or posttraumatic amnesia. However, the ROC curve area of 0.65 highly suggests that MACE alone would be a poor screening test for mTBI in a general civilian trauma population. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Diagnostic study, level II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-151
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015


  • concussion screening
  • mild traumatic brain injury
  • Military Acute Concussion Evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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