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Intensive care management of head injury patients without routine intracranial pressure monitoring

Author(s): Santhanam R | Pillai Shibu | Kolluri Sastry | Rao U

Journal: Neurology India
ISSN 0028-3886

Volume: 55;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 349;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Guidelines | intensive care | mortality | predictors | traumatic brain injury

Background: Head injury contributes significantly to mortality and morbidity in India. Evaluation of the available trauma care facilities may help improve outcome. Aim: To evaluate the factors influencing the mortality of patients with head injury who had intensive care management and evolve strategies to improve outcome. Setting and Design: Retrospective study in a tertiary hospital where intracranial pressure monitoring (ICPM) is not routinely practiced. Materials and Methods: All patients with head injury managed in the intensive care unit in a two-year period were included. The factors evaluated were age, vital signs, Glasgow Coma scale score (GCS) at admission, pupillary light reflex (PR), oculocephalic reflex (OCR), hemodynamic stability, computerized tomography (CT) findings, diabetes mellitus, anemia, infections and abnormalities of serum sodium. Results: We analyzed 208 patients (202 without ICPM). In-hospital mortality was 64 (31%). Only 24 (11.5%) patients were admitted within one hour of injury, while one-third arrived after six hours. The clinical factors (at admission) that influenced mortality included age, GCS, PR, OCR and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Effacement of the basal cisterns in the initial and repeat CT scans, hyperglycemia, hemodynamic instability and serum sodium imbalances were associated with higher mortality. The independent predictors of mortality by logistic regression were initial GCS, DBP, hemodynamic instability and effacement of cisterns on repeat CT. Conclusions: Mortality following head injury is high. Pre-hospital emergency medical services are disorganized. The key to reducing mortality within the limitations of our current trauma system is maintenance of DBP>70 mmHg and SBP> 90 mmHg from the time of first contact.

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