Decompressive craniectomy in traumatic brain injury: outcome following protocol-driven therapy
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Although decompressive craniectomy following traumatic brain injury is an option in patients with raised intracranial pressure (ICP) refractory to medical measures, its effect on clinical outcome remains unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the outcome of patients undergoing this procedure as part of protocol-driven therapy between 2000–2003. This was an observational study combining case note analysis and follow-up. Outcome was assessed at an interval of at least 6 months following injury using the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score and the SF-36 quality of life questionnaire. Forty-nine patients underwent decompressive craniectomy for raised and refractory ICP (41 [83.7%] bilateral craniectomy and 8 [16.3%] unilateral). Using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), the presenting head injury grade was severe (GCS 3–8) in 40 (81.6%) patients, moderate (GCS 9–12) in 8 (16.3%) patients, and initially mild (GCS 13–15) in 1 (2.0%) patient. At follow-up, 30 (61.2%) patients had a favorable outcome (good recovery or moderate disability), 10 (20.4%) remained severely disabled, and 9 (18.4%) died. No patients were left in a vegetative state. Overall the results demonstrated that decompressive craniectomy, when applied as part of protocol-driven therapy, yields a satisfactory rate of favorable outcome. Formal prospective randomized studies of decompressive craniectomy are now indicated.
KeywordsHead injury traumatic brain injury decompressive craniectomy ICP brain edema intracranial hypertension Glasgow Outcome Scale
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