Neurological outcome in patients with traumatic brain injury and its relationship with computed tomography patterns of traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage

Clinical article

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Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a poor prognostic factor for traumatic brain injury. The authors aimed to further investigate neurological outcome among head injury patients by examining the prognostic values of CT patterns of traumatic SAH, in particular, the thickness and distribution.


The study was conducted using a database in a regional trauma center in Hong Kong. Data had been prospectively collected in consecutive trauma patients between January 2006 and December 2008. Patients included in the study had significant head injury (as defined by a head Abbreviated Injury Scale [AIS] score of 2 or more) with traumatic SAH according to admission CT.


Over the 36-month period, 661 patients with significant head injury were admitted to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong. Two hundred fourteen patients (32%) had traumatic SAH on admission CT. The mortality rate was significantly greater and a 6-month unfavorable outcome was significantly more frequent in patients with traumatic SAH. Multivariate analysis showed that the maximum thickness (mm) of traumatic SAH was independently associated with neurological outcome (OR 0.8, 95% CI 0.7–0.9) and death (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.2–1.5) but not with the extent or location of hemorrhage.


Maximum thickness of traumatic SAH was a strong independent prognostic factor for death and clinical outcome. Anatomical distribution per se did not affect clinical outcome.

Abbreviations used in this paper: AIS = Abbreviated Injury Scale; GCS = Glasgow Coma Scale; GOS = Glasgow Outcome Scale; ISS = Injury Severity Score; RR = respiratory rate; RTS = Revised Trauma Score; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage; SBP = systolic blood pressure.

Article Information

Address correspondence to: George K. C. Wong, M.D., Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China. email:

Please include this information when citing this paper: published online February 18, 2011; DOI: 10.3171/2011.1.JNS101102.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



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