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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Diane M. Johnson, Roanna L. Vine, Alejandro A. Rabinstein and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

Clinical trials forming the basis of current guidelines for the management of intracranial aneurysms have relied on patient-reported modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores to assess functional outcome. The effect of patient demographics on perception of disability and, by extension, patient-reported mRS score, is not well understood.

METHODS

A consecutive series of patients with a previously treated or untreated unruptured intracranial aneurysm (UIA) prospectively underwent a structured interview with a trained nurse. At the conclusion of this interview, the patients were assigned an mRS score in accordance with their degree of disability. During the same visit, patients were also required to grade themselves on a paper sheet containing the mRS and corresponding information. Data on patient and aneurysm characteristics were also collected during the same visit. Agreement between patient- and nurse-reported mRS scores was assessed using Cohen’s kappa coefficient. The effect of patient demographics on the frequency of higher patient- than nurse-reported mRS scores was assessed using the Pearson’s chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests.

RESULTS

A total of 209 patients with a UIA were included in the study, 38 of whom (18.2%) had undergone previous treatment. The majority of patients were female (161/209, 77.0%), and the mean age of the cohort was 60.2 years (SD 13.7 years). Agreement between patient- and nurse-reported mRS scores occurred in 72.7% of cases (95% CI 66.3%–78.3%), with a kappa coefficient of 0.58 (95% CI 0.49–0.67). Patients younger than 75 years were more likely to report a higher mRS score than the nurse (19.4% vs 3.4%, p = 0.034). Among female patients, those without a college degree were more likely to report a higher mRS score than the nurse (22.5% vs 9.5%, p = 0.035).

CONCLUSIONS

The results suggest that patient demographics may influence perception of disability. These findings should be considered when using patient-reported mRS scores to determine functional outcome.

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Michael W. Parra, Lloyd Zucker, Eric S. Johnson, Diane Gullett, Cristina Avila, Zachary A. Wichner and Candace R. Kokaram

Object

The direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran has recently been approved in the US as an alternative to warfarin. The lack of guidelines, protocols, and an established specific antidote to reverse the anticoagulation effect of dabigatran potentially increases the rates of morbidity and mortality in patients with closed head injury (CHI). Confronted with this new problem, the authors reviewed their initial clinical experience.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed all cases of adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) who sustained CHI secondary to ground-level falls and who presented to the authors' provisional regional Level I trauma center between February 2011 and May 2011. The authors divided these patients into 3 groups based on anticoagulant therapy: dabigatran, warfarin, and no anticoagulants.

Results

Between February 2011 and May 2011, CHIs from ground-level falls were sustained by 5 patients while on dabigatran, by 15 patients on warfarin, and by 25 patients who were not on anticoagulants. The treatment of the patients on dabigatran at the authors' institution had great diversity. Repeat CT scans obtained during reversal showed 4 of 5 patients with new or expanded hemorrhages in the dabigatran group, whereas the warfarin group had 3 of 15 (p = 0.03). The overall mortality rate for patients sustaining CHI on dabigatran was 2 (40%) of 5, whereas that of the warfarin group was 0 (0%) of 15 (p = 0.05).

Conclusions

It is critical for physicians involved in the care of patients with CHI on dabigatran to be aware of an elevated mortality rate if no treatment protocol or guideline is in place. The authors will soon implement a reversal management protocol for patients with CHI on dabigatran at their institution in an attempt to improve efficacy and safety in their treatment approach.