Current practices of driving restriction implementation for patients with brain tumors
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- Thomas, S., Mehta, M.P., Kuo, J.S. et al. J Neurooncol (2011) 103: 641. doi:10.1007/s11060-010-0439-7
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Brain tumors may impair functioning in several neuro-cognitive domains and interfere with sophisticated tasks, such as driving motor vehicles. No formalized national guidelines or recommendations for driving restrictions in patients with brain tumors exist in the US. We created and administered a 24 question survey to 1,157 US medical practitioners, mostly neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists, to identify their knowledge of local driving restriction laws and their practice patterns regarding driving restriction instructions to brain tumor patients. Response were collected from 251 (21.7%) and analyzed from 221 (19%) recipients. Seventy-one percent of the respondents indicated they discuss driving recommendations/restrictions with brain tumor patients, with 82% primarily basing this on seizure activity. Approximately 28% of respondents were unsure if they are required by their State’s motor vehicle licensing authority to report medically impaired drivers. Respondents felt that longer periods of restriction prior to re-evaluation are warranted in patients with malignant versus benign brain tumors and high versus low grade gliomas. Only 25% of respondents use formal, standardized testing to determine driving eligibility and approximately 31% address driving restrictions in every patient with a brain tumor. This survey highlights the lack of consensus regarding the responsibilities of physicians treating brain tumor patients in designing and enforcing driving restrictions. We propose that a panel of experts generate driving restriction guidelines to be used in conjunction with objective testing of motor and sensory impairment. These would aid practitioners in developing individualized driving restrictions for every brain tumor patient.