Traumatic Minor Intracranial Hemorrhage: Management by Non-neurosurgeon Consultants in a Regional Trauma Center is Safe and Effective
There is debate concerning the need for specialist neurosurgical transfer of patients presenting to Level II trauma centers with a minimal head injury (Glasgow Coma Scale ≥13) and a small non-progressive intracranial bleeding (ICB).
A retrospective chart analysis was performed assessing the outcomes of adult patients presenting with a minor traumatic ICB on initial CT scan (minimal subarachnoid hemorrhage; small-width subdural hematoma without shift; punctate cerebral contusion). Patients with extradural hematomas and those patients on antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy were excluded from the protocol.
Overall 291 cases were assessed (mean age 69.9 years) with 75% of cases presenting after a fall. There was deterioration of neurological status in 11 patients (3.8%) with 8 hospital transfers and 5 with an abnormal neurological examination (NE). Two patients with an abnormal INR and a worsening head CT were transferred without neurosurgical intervention. Of the 8 transferred cases there were 2 deaths (both >90 years of age with multiple comorbidities) with one craniotomy performed for a subdural hematoma (with full recovery). Three patients meeting transfer criteria were not transferred with one death (patient >90 years of age with severe dementia). The remaining 2 patients were discharged with normal neurological outcomes.
Patients with a minimal traumatic brain injury and a non-progressive minor ICB may be safely managed in a Level II trauma center by an acute care consultant with neurosurgical consultation but without the need for neurosurgical transfer.
Level of evidence
Retrospective analysis: Level IV.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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