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The impact of coagulopathy on the outcome of traumatic epidural hematoma.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the impact of trauma-associated coagulation disorders on the neurological outcome in patients with traumatic epidural hematoma undergoing surgical or non-surgical treatment. A retrospective analysis was performed using prospectively collected data in a consecutive patient series from a level 1 trauma center.

METHODS: Eighty-five patients with traumatic epidural hematoma were identified out of 1,633 patients admitted to our emergency room with traumatic head injuries between October 2004 and December 2008. The following prospectively assessed parameters were analyzed: Glasgow Coma Scale, coagulopathy, presence of skull fractures, additional injuries, the Injury Severity Score, hematoma volume and thickness at admission, hematoma volume progression over time and neurologic symptoms. Furthermore, patients were grouped based on whether they had undergone surgical or non-surgical treatment of the epidural hematoma. Clinical outcome was determined according to the Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) at hospital discharge.

RESULTS: Patients with coagulopathy showed significantly lower GOS values compared to patients with intact blood coagulation. Initial and progressive hematoma volumes did not influence neurological outcome. Patients with multiple injuries did not show a worse outcome compared to those with isolated epidural hematoma. There was no difference in patient's outcome after surgical or non-surgical treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Poor outcome after traumatic epidural hematoma was associated with coagulopathy. Progression of epidural hematoma volume was not associated with coagulopathy or with poor neurological outcome. Prospective studies are needed to confirm these results.

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