Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common condition with many potential acute and chronic neurological consequences. Standard initial radiographic evaluation includes noncontrast head CT scanning to rapidly evaluate for pathology that might require intervention. The availability of fast, relatively inexpensive CT imaging has fundamentally changed the clinician’s ability to noninvasively visualize neuroanatomy. However, in the context of TBI, limitations of head CT without contrast include poor prognostic ability, inability to analyze cerebral perfusion status, and poor visualization of underlying posttraumatic changes to brain parenchyma. Here, the authors review emerging advanced imaging for evaluation of both acute and chronic TBI and include QuickBrain MRI as an initial imaging modality. Dynamic susceptibility-weighted contrast-enhanced perfusion MRI, MR arterial spin labeling, and perfusion CT are reviewed as methods for examining cerebral blood flow following TBI. The authors evaluate MR-based diffusion tensor imaging and functional MRI for prognostication of recovery post-TBI. Finally, MR elastography, MR spectroscopy, and convolutional neural networks are examined as future tools in TBI management. Many imaging technologies are being developed and studied in TBI, and some of these may hold promise in improving the understanding and management of TBI.
Luke G. F. Smith, Eric Milliron, Mai-Lan Ho, Houchun H. Hu, Jerome Rusin, Jeffrey Leonard, and Eric A. Sribnick
Meysam A. Kebriaei, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Steven M. Salinas, Kristina L. Falkenstrom, Eric A. Sribnick, R. Shane Tubbs, Andrew Reisner, and Joshua J. Chern
Children younger than 1 year of age are unique in their physiology and comorbidities. Reports in the literature suggest that the risk factors for shunt infection may be different in this population compared with older children. Importantly, these infants often have other congenital malformations requiring various surgical interventions, which impose an additional risk of infection.
In the 3-year period between 2008 and 2010, 270 patients underwent initial CSF shunt placement during the 1st year of life. Clinical characteristics, hospital course, and shunt infections were prospectively recorded in the practice and hospital electronic medical record. Special attention was given to types and timing of other invasive procedures and their relationship with shunt infection.
The average gestational age was 33.6 weeks, and the average birth weight was 2333 g. The average weight at the time of shunt insertion was 4281 g. Prior to shunt insertion, 120 patients underwent 148 surgical procedures, including ventricular access device insertion (n = 63), myelomeningocele closure (n = 37), and cardiac procedures (n = 11), among others. In the 12-month period after shunt insertion, 121 of the 270 patients underwent 135 surgical procedures, which included 79 CSF shunt revisions. Shunt infection occurred in 22 patients, and organisms were identified in 20 cases. Univariate analysis showed that of the very prematurely born infants (gestational age < 30 weeks), those who underwent preshunt cardiac surgery and any surgical procedures within 30 days after the shunt insertion were at a greater risk of shunt infection. In multivariate analysis, preshunt cardiac surgery and surgical procedures within 30 days postshunt placement were significant risk factors independent of gestational age, birth weight, and history of shunt revisions.
The results of this study suggest that surgical procedures within 30 days after shunt insertion and preshunt cardiac surgery are associated with a greater risk of shunt infection in children in whom these devices were inserted during the 1st year of life.
Andrew Reisner, Joshua J. Chern, Karen Walson, Natalie Tillman, Toni Petrillo-Albarano, Eric A. Sribnick, Laura S. Blackwell, Zaev D. Suskin, Chia-Yi Kuan, and Atul Vats
Evidence shows mixed efficacy of applying guidelines for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. A multidisciplinary team at a children’s health system standardized intensive care unit–based TBI care using guidelines and best practices. The authors sought to investigate the impact of guideline implementation on outcomes.
A multidisciplinary group developed a TBI care protocol based on published TBI treatment guidelines and consensus, which was implemented in March 2011. The authors retrospectively compared preimplementation outcomes (May 2009 to March 2011) and postimplementation outcomes (April 2011 to March 2014) among patients < 18 years of age admitted with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8) and potential survivability who underwent intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring. Measures included mortality, hospital length of stay (LOS), ventilator LOS, critical ICP elevation time (percentage or total time that ICP was > 40 mm Hg), and survivor functionality at discharge (measured by the WeeFIM score). Data were analyzed using Student t-tests.
A total of 71 and 121 patients were included pre- and postimplementation, respectively. Mortality (32% vs 19%; p < 0.001) and length of critical ICP elevation (> 20 mm Hg; 26.3% vs 15%; p = 0.001) decreased after protocol implementation. WeeFIM discharge scores were not statistically different (57.6 vs 58.9; p = 0.9). Hospital LOS (median 19.6 days; p = 0.68) and ventilator LOS (median 10 days; p = 0.24) were unchanged.
A multidisciplinary effort to develop, disseminate, and implement an evidence-based TBI treatment protocol at a children’s hospital was associated with improved outcomes, including survival and reduced time of ICP elevation. This type of ICP-based protocol can serve as a guide for other institutions looking to reduce practice disparity in the treatment of severe TBI.
David Dornbos III, Christy Monson, CNP, Andrew Look, Kristin Huntoon, Luke G. F. Smith, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Sanjay S. Dhall, and Eric A. Sribnick
While the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) has been effective in describing severity in traumatic brain injury (TBI), there is no current method for communicating the possible need for surgical intervention. This study utilizes a recently developed scoring system, the Surgical Intervention for Traumatic Injury (SITI) scale, which was developed to efficiently communicate the potential need for surgical decompression in adult patients with TBI. The objective of this study was to apply the SITI scale to a pediatric population to provide a tool to increase communication of possible surgical urgency.
The SITI scale uses both radiographic and clinical findings, including the GCS score on presentation, pupillary examination, and CT findings. To examine the scale in pediatric TBI, a neurotrauma database at a level 1 pediatric trauma center was retrospectively evaluated, and the SITI score for all patients with an admission diagnosis of TBI between 2010 and 2015 was calculated. The primary endpoint was operative intervention, defined as a craniotomy or craniectomy for decompression, performed within the first 24 hours of admission.
A total of 1524 patients met inclusion criteria for the study during the 5-year span: 1469 (96.4%) were managed nonoperatively and 55 (3.6%) patients underwent emergent operative intervention. The mean SITI score was 4.98 ± 0.31 for patients undergoing surgical intervention and 0.41 ± 0.02 for patients treated nonoperatively (p < 0.0001). The area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUROC) curve was used to examine the diagnostic accuracy of the SITI scale in this pediatric population and was found to be 0.98. Further evaluation of patients presenting with moderate to severe TBI revealed a mean SITI score of 5.51 ± 0.31 in 40 (15.3%) operative patients and 1.55 ± 0.02 in 221 (84.7%) nonoperative patients, with an AUROC curve of 0.95.
The SITI scale was designed to be a simple, objective communication tool regarding the potential need for surgical decompression after TBI. Application of this scale to a pediatric population reveals that the score correlated with the perceived need for emergent surgical intervention, further suggesting its potential utility in clinical practice.