01.10.2010 | Original Article
Emergency decompressive craniectomy for trauma patients with Glasgow Coma Scale of 3 and bilateral fixed dilated pupils
M. Jamous, M. Barbarawi, S. Samrah, M. N. Khabaz, M. Al-Jarrah, S. Dauod
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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Trauma patients with Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 3 and bilateral fixed dilated pupils (BFDP) usually have dismal outcome, and neurosurgeons are less likely to treat such patients aggressively. In this work, the authors assessed whether emergency decompressive craniectomy (EDC) can change the poor outcome of these patients.
We reviewed all patients with GCS of 3 and BFDP admitted to our neurosurgical unit from January 2004 to January 2008. Injury data, prehospital times, findings on brain computed tomography (CT) scan, procedures, and outcomes were recorded.
During this period, 21 patients were admitted with GCS of 3 and BFDP following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain CT scan showed diffuse brain edema in 17 patients (81%), and in 13 patients (62%) it showed different types of intracranial hemorrhage. All patients received conservative medical treatment. Urgent decompressive bifrontal craniectomy was performed in five patients at a mean of 4.6 h (range 2–6 h) from time of injury. Intracranial pressure (ICP) was recorded hourly by intraparenchymal sensor (Codman, Johnson & Johnson). Although decompressive craniectomy was effective in controlling ICP, all patients with GCS of 3 and BFDP died within 30 days of trauma.
Despite control of ICP following emergency decompressive craniectomy in patients with severe TBI, GCS of 3, and BFDP, this did not change the dismal outcome of these patients; on the contrary, it may increase the suffering for patients and their families and add unnecessary medical burden. We propose that these patients have irreversible severe brain insult.