OAH is a paid consultant for Emmanuel Law Corporation. The other authors have no disclosures.
Study conception and design: TES, AS, DAS, KLS. Data collection: TES, KLS. Data analysis and interpretation: TES, KLS, AS, OAH. Wrote manuscript: TES, KLS. Critical revision: TES, AS, OAH, DAS, KLS. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Patients with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) as defined by an admission Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) of 14–15 often do not require neurosurgical interventions, but which patients will go on to require neurosurgical care has been difficult to predict. We hypothesized that injury patterns would be associated with need for eventual neurosurgical intervention in mild TBI.
The National Trauma Databank (2007–2012) was queried for patients with blunt injury and a diagnosis of TBI with an emergency department GCS of 14–15. Patients were stratified by age and injury type. Multiple logistic regression for neurosurgical intervention was run with patient demographics, physiologic variables, and injury diagnoses as dependent variables.
The study included 50,496 patients, with an overall 8.8 % rate of neurosurgical intervention. Neurosurgical intervention rates varied markedly according to injury type, and were only correlated with age for patients with epidural and subdural hemorrhage. In multiple logistic regression, TBI diagnoses were predictive of need for neurosurgical interventions; moreover, after controlling for injury type and severity score, age was not significantly associated with requiring neurosurgical intervention.
We found that in mild TBI, injury pattern is associated with eventual need for neurosurgical intervention. Patients with cerebral contusion or subarachnoid hemorrhage are much less likely to require neurosurgical intervention, and the effects of age are not significant after controlling for other patient factors. Prospective studies should validate this finding so that treatment guidelines can be updated to better allocate ICU resources.