JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Bilateral craniotomies for blunt head trauma.

Journal of Trauma 1997 November
Development of delayed or recurrent intracranial hematomas requiring reexploration or a secondary craniotomy is well known. Patients with bilateral pathology requiring bilateral craniotomies as the initial emergency operative intervention, however, are uncommon. The lack of available literature and the large volume of head trauma seen at our institution prompted us to analyze the retrospective data on blunt head injury requiring bilateral craniotomies. Twenty patients underwent bilateral craniotomies at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center between January 1986 and June 1994. Ages ranged from 18 to 85 years. Mechanism of injury included motor vehicle crash (n = 4), pedestrian hit by automobile (n = 4), assault (n = 8), fall from height (n = 3), and unknown (n = 1). Epidural hematomas, acute subdural hematomas, contusions, and intracerebral hematomas were seen in varying combinations. The preoperative Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score ranged from 4 to 14, with a mean of 8.8 (+/-0.82 SE). Sixteen of the 20 patients survived and were discharged from the hospital. The survivors' Rancho Los Amigos Scale score on discharge ranged from 2 to 8, with a mean of 6.1 (+/-0.45 SE). A Fisher's exact test was performed to compare the outcome between the patients with mild (GCS score 13-15) to moderate (GCS score 9-12) head injury and those with severe (GCS score 4-8) head injury. It showed a statistically higher frequency of death in the severe category (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the outcome of patients with bilateral pathology requiring emergency bilateral craniotomy at initial treatment correlated well with their GCS scores at initial presentation.

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