01.08.2014 | Original Article
The role of decompressive craniectomy in children with severe traumatic brain injury
N. El Hindy, K. P. Stein, V. Hagel, P. Dammann, U. Sure, O. Mueller
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains the leading cause of death in children. The present study analyses the outcome of children after severe TBI treated by decompressive craniectomy (DC) due to elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) in a single centre.
Fifty-six consecutive children (age < 16 years) were treated for severe TBI at our institution between 2001 and 2011. For study purposes, children with severe generalized traumatic brain swelling without concomitant mass lesion were further analysed. Descriptive statistics were used to report clinical conditions as well as outcome measurements after conservative treatment only in comparison to secondary decompressive craniectomy.
Of 56 children, a total of eight children presented with generalized and progressive traumatic brain swelling and impending brain herniation. Four children were treated conservatively following standardized local protocol for anti-oedematous management, with ICP amenable to intensified therapy. Four children required decompressive surgery due to progressive oedema refractory to intensified conservative management. Children receiving secondary DC had a longer stay in the intensive care unit as well as a longer average time of assisted ventilation compared to children treated conservatively. Concomitant injuries were more severe in the DC subgroup. Yet, Glasgow Outcome Scale was equally distributed in both groups.
In children with refractory ICP conditions due to severe TBI, decompressive surgery might lead to a similar favourable outcome compared to children in whom ICP can be controlled only by conservative management. Timing of surgery depends on the neurological deterioration of the patients and a continuous ICP monitoring.