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Severe traumatic brain injuries in Northern Sweden: a prospective 2-year study
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine. (Arcum)
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience, Clinical Neuroscience.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, ISSN 1650-1977, E-ISSN 1651-2081, Vol. 45, no 8, 792-800 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To assess: (i) the clinical characteristics and injury descriptors of patients with severe traumatic brain injury in Northern Sweden admitted to the single Neurotrauma Center (NC) serving this region; (ii) the care pathway of patients from injury to 3 months after discharge from the NC; and (iii) the outcomes at 3 months post-injury. Population-based prospective 2-year cohort study.Patients age 17–65 years with acute severe traumatic brain injury, lowest non-sedated Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 3–8 within 24 h post-trauma. Patients were treated according to an intracranial pressure-oriented protocol based on the Lund concept at the NC. They were assessed at 3 weeks after injury with Rancho Los Amigos Cognitive Scale Revised (RLAS-R), Levels of Cognitive functioning, and at 3 months with RLAS-R and Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE).A total of 37 patients were included. Hospital deaths within 3 months post-injury occurred in 5 patients. After 3 months the RLAS-R scores were significantly improved (< 0.001). Eight patients had both “superior cognitive functioning” on the RLAS-R and “favourable outcome” on the GOSE. Thirty-four patients (92%) were directly admitted to the NC. By contrast, after discharge patients were transferred back to one of several county hospitals or to one of several local hospitals, and some had multiple transfers between different hospitals and departments. Overall outcomes were surprisingly good in this group of severely injured patients. The routines for transferring patients with severe traumatic brain injury from a geographically large, sparsely populated region to a regional NC to receive well-monitored neurosurgical care seem to work very well. The post-acute clinical pathways are less clearly reflecting an optimized medical and rehabilitative strategy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stiftelsen Rehabiliteringsinformation , 2013. Vol. 45, no 8, 792-800 p.
Keyword [en]
traumatic brain injury, outcome, demographics, critical pathways
National Category
Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83022DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1200ISI: 000326357500015PubMedID: 24002316OAI: diva2:664557
Available from: 2013-11-15 Created: 2013-11-15 Last updated: 2016-05-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Severe traumatic brain injury: clinical course and prognostic factors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Severe traumatic brain injury: clinical course and prognostic factors
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) constitutes a major health problem and is a leading cause of long-term disability and death. Patients with severe traumatic brain injury, S-TBI, comprise a heterogeneous group with varying complexity and prognosis. The primary aim of this thesis was to increase knowledge about clinical course and outcome with regard to prognostic factors. Papers I, II and III were based on data from a prospective multicentre observational study from six neurotrauma centers (NCs) in Sweden and Iceland of patients (n=103-114), 18-65 years with S-TBI requiring neurosurgical intensive care or collaborative care with a neurosurgeon (the “PROBRAIN” study).  Paper IV and V were performed on a regional subset (n=37).

In Paper I, patients with posttraumatic disorders of consciousness (DOC) were assessed as regards relationship between conscious state at 3 weeks and outcomes at 1 year. The number of patients who emerged from minimally conscious state (EMCS) 1 year after injury according to status at 3 weeks were: coma (0/6), unresponsive wakeful syndrome (UWS) (9/17), minimally conscious state (MCS) (13/13), anaesthetized (9/11). Outcome at 1 year was good (Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE>4) in half of the patients in MCS (or anaesthetized) at 3 weeks, but not for any of the patients in coma or UWS.  

 In Paper II, the relationships between clinical care descriptors and outcome at 1 year were assessed. A longer length of stay in intensive care, and longer time between discharge from intensive care and admission to inpatient rehabilitation, were both associated with a worse outcome on the GOSE. The number of intervening care units between intensive care and rehabilitation, was not significantly associated with outcome at 1 year.

 In Paper III, the clinical course of cognitive and emotional impairments as reflected in the Barrow Neurological Institute Screen for Higher Cerebral Functions (BNIS) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were assessed from 3 weeks to 1 year together with associations with outcomes GOSE and Rancho Los Amigos Cognitive Scale-Revised (RLAS-R) at 1 year. Cognition improved over time and appeared to be stable from 3 months to 1 year.

 In Paper IV, clinical parameters, the clinical pathways from injury to 3 months after discharge from the NC in relation to outcomes 3 months post-injury. Ratings on the RLAS-R improved significantly over time. Eight patients had both “superior cognitive functioning” on the RLAS-R and “favourable outcome” on the GOSE. Acute transfers to the one regional NC was direct and swift, transfers for postacute rehabilitation scattered patients to many hospitals/hospital departments, not seldom by several transitional stages.

 In Paper V, an initial computerized tomography of the brain (CTi) and a further posttraumatic brain CT after 24 hours (CT24) were evaluated according to protocols for standardized assessment, the Marshall and Rotterdam classifications. The CT scores only correlated with clinical outcome measures (GOSE and RLAS-R) at 3 months, but failed to yield prognostic information regarding outcome at 1 year. A prognostic model was also implemented, based on acute data (CRASH model). This model predicted unfavourable outcomes for 81% of patients with bad outcome and for 85% of patients with favourable outcome according to GOSE at 1 year. When assessing outcomes per se, both GOSE and RLAS-R improved significantly from 3 months to 1 year.

 The papers in this study point both to the generally favourable outcomes that result from active and aggressive management of S-TBI, while also underscore our current lack of reliable instruments for outcome prediction. In the absence of an ability to select patients based on prognostication, the overall favourable prognosis lends support for providing active rehabilitation to all patients with S-TBI. The results of these studies should be considered in conjunction with the prognosis of long-term outcomes and the planning of rehabilitation and care pathways. The results demonstrate the importance of a combination of active, acute neurotrauma care and intensive specialized neurorehabilitation with follow-up for these severely injured patients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2016. 109 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1792
Severe traumatic brain injury, outcome, rehabilitation, prognosis
National Category
Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Rehabilitation Medicine
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-119826 (URN)978-91-7601-416-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-05-27, E04, Umeå universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-05-04 Created: 2016-04-28 Last updated: 2016-06-01Bibliographically approved

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