Prognostication in critically ill patients with severe traumatic brain injury

Turgeon, A.F. et al. for the TBI-Prognosis Study Team and the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e013779

Objective: Severe traumatic brain injury is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in young adults. Assessing long-term neurological outcome after such injury is difficult and often characterised by uncertainty. The objective of this feasibility study was to establish the feasibility of conducting a large, multicentre prospective study to develop a prognostic model of long-term neurological outcome in critically ill patients with severe traumatic brain injury.

Conclusions: In this multicentre prospective feasibility study, we achieved feasibility objectives pertaining to compliance to test, enrolment and follow-up. We conclude that the TBI-Prognosis prospective multicentre study in severe traumatic brain injury patients in Canada is feasible.

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Traumatic brain injuries in older adults—6 years of data for one UK trauma centre

Hawley, C. et al. Emergency Medicine Journal. Published Online: 4 January 2017

Objectives: Our aim was to determine the incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in older adults and investigate the relationship between injury characteristics and outcomes.


Conclusions: Patients with TBI represented 45% of all trauma cases meeting TARN inclusion criteria. Falls at home accounted for most TBIs. Most had moderate/severe TBI, yet over half made a good recovery on GOS. Our data indicate that injury prevention initiatives should focus on home safety. Further research is needed to examine rehabilitation and follow-up after hospital discharge.

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Therapeutic Hypothermia for Traumatic Brain Injury

Crompton, E et al. Critical Care Medicine. Published online: December 9 2016


Objective: Therapeutic hypothermia has been used to attenuate the effects of traumatic brain injuries. However, the required degree of hypothermia, length of its use, and its timing are uncertain. We undertook a comprehensive meta-analysis to quantify benefits of hypothermia therapy for traumatic brain injuries in adults and children by analyzing mortality rates, neurologic outcomes, and adverse effects.

Conclusions: Therapeutic hypothermia is likely a beneficial treatment following traumatic brain injuries in adults but cannot be recommended in children.

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Therapeutic hypothermia in patients following traumatic brain injury: a systematic review

Dunkley, S. et al. Nursing in Critical Care. Published online: 6 May 2016

Background: The efficacy of therapeutic hypothermia in adult patients with traumatic brain injury is not fully understood. The historical use of therapeutic hypothermia at extreme temperatures was associated with severe complications and led to it being discredited. Positive results from animal studies using milder temperatures led to renewed interest. However, recent studies have not convincingly demonstrated the beneficial effects of therapeutic hypothermia in practice.

Aim: This review aims to answer the question: in adults with a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), does the use of therapeutic hypothermia compared with normothermia affect neurological outcome?

Design: Systematic review.

Method: Four major electronic databases were searched, and a hand search was undertaken using selected key search terms. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. The studies were appraised using a systematic approach, and four themes addressing the research question were identified and critically evaluated.

Results: A total of eight peer-reviewed studies were found, and the results show there is some evidence that therapeutic hypothermia may be effective in improving neurological outcome in adult patients with traumatic brain injury. However, the majority of the trials report conflicting results. Therapeutic hypothermia is reported to be effective at lowering intracranial pressure; however, its efficacy in improving neurological outcome is not fully demonstrated. This review suggests that therapeutic hypothermia had increased benefits in patients with haematoma-type injuries as opposed to those with diffuse injury and contusions. It also suggests that cooling should recommence if rebound intracranial hypertension is observed.

Conclusion: Although the data indicates a trend towards better neurological outcome and reduced mortality rates, higher quality multi-centred randomized controlled trials are required before therapeutic hypothermia is implemented as a standard adjuvant therapy for treating traumatic brain injury.

Relevance to clinical practice: Therapeutic hypothermia can have a positive impact on patient outcome, but more research is required.

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