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Thomas M. O’Lynnger, Chevis N. Shannon, Truc M. Le, Amber Greeno, Dai Chung, Fred S. Lamb, and John C. Wellons III

OBJECT

The goal of critical care in treating traumatic brain injury (TBI) is to reduce secondary brain injury by limiting cerebral ischemia and optimizing cerebral blood flow. The authors compared short-term outcomes as defined by discharge disposition and Glasgow Outcome Scale scores in children with TBI before and after the implementation of a protocol that standardized decision-making and interventions among neurosurgeons and pediatric intensivists.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective pre- and postprotocol study of 128 pediatric patients with severe TBI, as defined by Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores < 8, admitted to a tertiary care center pediatric critical care unit between April 1, 2008, and May 31, 2014. The preprotocol group included 99 patients, and the postprotocol group included 29 patients. The primary outcome of interest was discharge disposition before and after protocol implementation, which took place on April 1, 2013. Ordered logistic regression was used to assess outcomes while accounting for injury severity and clinical parameters. Favorable discharge disposition included discharge home. Unfavorable discharge disposition included discharge to an inpatient facility or death.

RESULTS

Demographics were similar between the treatment periods, as was injury severity as assessed by GCS score (mean 5.43 preprotocol, mean 5.28 postprotocol; p = 0.67). The ordered logistic regression model demonstrated an odds ratio of 4.0 of increasingly favorable outcome in the postprotocol cohort (p = 0.007). Prior to protocol implementation, 63 patients (64%) had unfavorable discharge disposition and 36 patients (36%) had favorable discharge disposition. After protocol implementation, 9 patients (31%) had unfavorable disposition, while 20 patients (69%) had favorable disposition (p = 0.002). In the preprotocol group, 31 patients (31%) died while 6 patients (21%) died after protocol implementation (p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Discharge disposition and mortality rates in pediatric patients with severe TBI improved after implementation of a standardized protocol among caregivers based on best-practice guidelines.

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Pious D. Patel, Katherine A. Kelly, Heidi Chen, Amber Greeno, Chevis N. Shannon, and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

Rural-dwelling children may suffer worse pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) outcomes due to distance from and accessibility to high-volume trauma centers. This study aimed to compare the impacts of institutional TBI volume and sociodemographics on outcomes between rural- and urban-dwelling children.

METHODS

This retrospective study identified patients 0–19 years of age with ICD-9 codes for TBI in the 2012–2015 National Inpatient Sample database. Patients were characterized as rural- or urban-dwelling using United States Census classification. Logistic and linear (in log scale) regressions were performed to measure the effects of institutional characteristics, patient sociodemographics, and mechanism/severity of injury on occurrence of medical complications, mortality, length of stay (LOS), and costs. Separate models were built for rural- and urban-dwelling patients.

RESULTS

A total of 19,736 patients were identified (median age 11 years, interquartile range [IQR] 2–16 years, 66% male, 55% Caucasian). Overall, rural-dwelling patients had higher All Patient Refined Diagnosis Related Groups injury severity (median 2 [IQR 1–3] vs 1 [IQR 1–2], p < 0.001) and more intracranial monitoring (6% vs 4%, p < 0.001). Univariate analysis showed that overall, rural-dwelling patients suffered increased medical complications (6% vs 4%, p < 0.001), mortality (6% vs 4%, p < 0.001), and LOS (median 2 days [IQR 1–4 days ] vs 2 days [IQR 1–3 days], p < 0.001), but multivariate analysis showed rural-dwelling status was not associated with these outcomes after adjusting for injury severity, mechanism, and hospital characteristics. Institutional TBI volume was not associated with medical complications, disposition, or mortality for either population but was associated with LOS for urban-dwelling patients (nonlinear beta, p = 0.008) and cost for both rural-dwelling (nonlinear beta, p < 0.001) and urban-dwelling (nonlinear beta, p < 0.001) patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, rural-dwelling pediatric patients with TBI have worsened injury severity, mortality, and in-hospital complications, but these disparities disappear after adjusting for injury severity and mechanism. Institutional TBI volume does not impact clinical outcomes for rural- or urban-dwelling children after adjusting for these covariates. Addressing the root causes of the increased injury severity at hospital arrival may be a useful path to improve TBI outcomes for rural-dwelling children.

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Jackson H. Allen, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Kelly L. Vittetoe, Amber Greeno, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Purnima Unni, Harold N. Lovvorn III, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) and dirt bike crashes frequently result in traumatic brain injury. The authors performed a retrospective study to evaluate the role of helmets in the neurosurgical outcomes of pediatric patients involved in ATV and dirt bike crashes who were treated at their institution during the last decade.

METHODS

The authors analyzed data on all pediatric patients involved in ATV or dirt bike crashes who were evaluated at a single regional level I pediatric trauma center between 2010 and 2019. Patients were excluded if the crash occurred in a competition (n = 70) or if helmet status could not be determined (n = 18). Multivariable logistic regression was used to analyze the association of helmet status with the primary outcomes of 1) neurosurgical consultation, 2) intracranial injury (including skull fracture), and 3) moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (MSTBI) and to control for literature-based, potentially confounding variables.

RESULTS

In total, 680 patients were included (230 [34%] helmeted patients and 450 [66%] unhelmeted patients). Helmeted patients were more frequently male (81% vs 66%). Drivers were more frequently helmeted (44.3%) than passengers (10.5%, p < 0.001). Head imaging was performed to evaluate 70.9% of unhelmeted patients and 48.3% of helmeted patients (p < 0.001). MSTBI (8.0% vs 1.7%, p = 0.001) and neurosurgical consultation (26.2% vs 9.1%, p < 0.001) were more frequent among unhelmeted patients. Neurosurgical injuries, including intracranial hemorrhage (16% vs 4%, p < 0.001) and skull fracture (18% vs 4%, p < 0.001), were more common in unhelmeted patients. Neurosurgical procedures were required by 2.7% of unhelmeted patients. One helmeted patient (0.4%) required placement of an intracranial pressure monitor, and no other helmeted patients required neurosurgical procedures. After adjustment for age, sex, driver status, vehicle type, and injury mechanism, helmet use significantly reduced the odds of neurosurgical consultation (OR 0.250, 95% CI 0.140–0.447, p < 0.001), intracranial injury (OR 0.172, 95% CI 0.087–0.337, p < 0.001), and MSTBI (OR 0.244, 95% CI 0.079–0.758, p = 0.015). The unadjusted absolute risk reduction provided by helmet use equated to a number-needed-to-helmet of 6 riders to prevent 1 neurosurgical consultation, 4 riders to prevent 1 intracranial injury, and 16 riders to prevent 1 MSTBI.

CONCLUSIONS

Helmet use remains problematically low among young ATV and dirt bike riders, especially passengers. Expanding helmet use among these children could significantly reduce the rates of intracranial injury and MSTBI, as well as the subsequent need for neurosurgical procedures. Promoting helmet use among recreational ATV and dirt bike riders must remain a priority for neurosurgeons, public health officials, and injury prevention professionals.