Several scores estimate the prognosis for gunshot wounds to the head (GSWH) at the point of hospital admission. However, prognosis may change over the course of the hospital stay. This study measures the accuracy of the Baylor score among patients who have already survived the acute phase of hospitalization and generates conditional outcome curves for the duration of hospital stay for patients with GSWH.
Patients in whom GSWH with dural penetration occurred between January 2009 and June 2019 were identified from a trauma registry at a level I trauma center in the southeastern US. The Baylor score was calculated using component variables. Conditional overall survival and good functional outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5) curves were generated. The accuracy of the Baylor score in predicting mortality and functional outcome among acute-phase survivors (survival > 48 hours) was assessed using receiver operating characteristic curves and the area under the curve (AUC).
A total of 297 patients were included (mean age 38.0 [SD 15.7] years, 73.4% White, 85.2% male), and 129 patients survived the initial 48 hours of admission. These acute-phase survivors had a decreased mortality rate of 32.6% (n = 42) compared to 68.4% (n = 203) for all patients, and an increased rate of good functional outcome (48.1%; n = 62) compared to the rate for all patients (23.2%; n = 69). Among acute-phase survivors, the Baylor score accurately predicted mortality (AUC = 0.807) and functional outcome (AUC = 0.837). However, the Baylor score generally overestimated true mortality rates and underestimated good functional outcome. Additionally, hospital day 18 represented an inflection point of decreasing probability of good functional outcome.
During admission for GSWH, surviving beyond the acute phase of 48 hours doubles the rates of survival and good functional outcome. The Baylor score maintains reasonable accuracy in predicting these outcomes for acute-phase survivors, but generally overestimates mortality and underestimates good functional outcome. Future prognostic models should incorporate conditional survival to improve the accuracy of prognostication after the acute phase.