Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury: Clinical Characteristics and a Prognostic Model of 12-Month Outcome

Cathrine Elisabeth Einarsen, Joukje van der Naalt, Bram Jacobs, Turid Follestad, Kent Gøran Moen, Anne Vik, Asta Kristine Håberg, Toril Skandsen
World Neurosurgery 2018, 114: e1199-e1210

BACKGROUND: Patients with moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) often are studied together with patients with severe TBI, even though the expected outcome of the former is better. Therefore, we aimed to describe patient characteristics and 12-month outcomes, and to develop a prognostic model based on admission data, specifically for patients with moderate TBI.

METHODS: Patients with Glasgow Coma Scale scores of 9-13 and age ≥16 years were prospectively enrolled in 2 level I trauma centers in Europe. Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE) score was assessed at 12 months. A prognostic model predicting moderate disability or worse (GOSE score ≤6), as opposed to a good recovery, was fitted by penalized regression. Model performance was evaluated by area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristics curves.

RESULTS: Of the 395 enrolled patients, 81% had intracranial lesions on head computed tomography, and 71% were admitted to an intensive care unit. At 12 months, 44% were moderately disabled or worse (GOSE score ≤6), whereas 8% were severely disabled and 6% died (GOSE score ≤4). Older age, lower Glasgow Coma Scale score, no day-of-injury alcohol intoxication, presence of a subdural hematoma, occurrence of hypoxia and/or hypotension, and preinjury disability were significant predictors of GOSE score ≤6 (area under the curve = 0.80).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with moderate TBI exhibit characteristics of significant brain injury. Although few patients died or experienced severe disability, 44% did not experience good recovery, indicating that follow-up is needed. The model is a first step in development of prognostic models for moderate TBI that are valid across centers.

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