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Harri Isokuortti, Grant L. Iverson, Noah D. Silverberg, Anneli Kataja, Antti Brander, Juha Öhman and Teemu M. Luoto

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of intracranial abnormalities after mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) varies widely across studies. This study describes the characteristics of intracranial abnormalities (acute/preexisting) in a large representative sample of head-injured patients who underwent CT imaging in an emergency department.

METHODS

CT scans were systematically analyzed/coded in the TBI Common Data Elements framework. Logistic regression modeling was used to quantify risk factors for traumatic intracranial abnormalities in patients with mild TBIs. This cohort included all patients who were treated at the emergency department of the Tampere University Hospital (between 2010 and 2012) and who had undergone head CT imaging after suffering a suspected TBI (n = 3023), including 2766 with mild TBI and a reference group with moderate to severe TBI.

RESULTS

The most common traumatic lesions seen on CT scans obtained in patients with mild TBIs and those with moderate to severe TBIs were subdural hematomas, subarachnoid hemorrhages, and contusions. Every sixth patient (16.1%) with mild TBI had an intracranial lesion compared with 5 of 6 patients (85.6%) in the group with moderate to severe TBI. The distribution of different types of acute traumatic lesions was similar among mild and moderate/severe TBI groups. Preexisting brain lesions were a more common CT finding among patients with mild TBIs than those with moderate to severe TBIs. Having a past traumatic lesion was associated with increased risk for an acute traumatic lesion but neurodegenerative and ischemic lesions were not. A lower Glasgow Coma Scale score, male sex, older age, falls, and chronic alcohol abuse were associated with higher risk of acute intracranial lesion in patients with mild TBI.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings underscore the heterogeneity of neuropathology associated with the mild TBI classification. Preexisting brain lesions are common in patients with mild TBI, and the incidence of preexisting lesions increases with age. Acute traumatic lesions are fairly common in patients with mild TBI; every sixth patient had a positive CT scan. Older adults (especially men) who fall represent a susceptible group for acute CT-positive TBI.

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Minna Rauhala, Teemu M. Luoto, Heini Huhtala, Grant L. Iverson, Tero Niskakangas, Juha Öhman and Pauli Helén

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to determine the population-based epidemiology of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) over a 26-year period.

METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted of all adult patients (≥ 18 years and residents of Pirkanmaa [Finland]) with a diagnosis of CSDH between 1990 and 2015. The cases were identified using ICD codes. Detailed data collection was performed using medical records and death certificates. All patients were monitored until death or the end of year 2017. The annual number of inhabitants in the Pirkanmaa region was obtained from Statistics Finland (Helsinki, Finland).

RESULTS

A total of 1168 patients with CSDH were identified from hospital records and death certificates; patients were considered as new-incidence cases if 2 years had elapsed following primary treatment and in cases involving a new contralateral CSDH. From 1990 to 2015, the overall incidence of CSDH doubled from 8.2 to 17.6/100,000/year. Among adults younger than 70 years, the incidence remained quite stable, whereas the incidence clearly increased among the ≥ 80-year-old population, from 46.9 to 129.5/100,000/year. The median age for a CSDH diagnosis increased from 73 to 79 years during the 26-year period. Head trauma was documented in 59% of cases. A ground-level fall was related to the CSDH in 31% of patients younger than 60 years and in 54% of those 80 years or older. The proportion of alcohol-related cases decreased toward the end of the study period (1990–1995: 16% and 2011–2015: 7%), because alcohol abuse was less frequent among the growing group of elderly patients. In contrast, the percentage of patients receiving anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication almost doubled toward 2015 (1990–1995, 27%; and 2011–2015, 49%). The patients’ neurological condition on admission, based on both Glasgow Coma Scale score (score < 13: 1990–1995, 18%; and 2011–2015, 7%; p < 0.001) and the modified Rankin Scale score (score 0–2: 1990–1995, 8%; and 2011–2015, 19%; p < 0.001), was better in recent years than in the early 1990s.

CONCLUSIONS

From 1990 to 2015, the incidence of CSDH has increased markedly. The incidence of CSDH among the population 80 years or older has nearly tripled since 1990. The use of anticoagulants has increased, but there has been no change regarding the ratio between a traumatic and a spontaneous CSDH etiology. As the world population becomes progressively older, the increasing incidence of CSDH will be a burden to patients and a future challenge for neurosurgical clinics.

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Mark R. Lovell, Michael W. Collins, Grant L. Iverson, Melvin Field, Joseph C. Maroon, Robert Cantu, Kenneth Podell, John W. Powell, Mark Belza and Freddie H. Fu

Object. A computerized neuropsychological test battery was conducted to evaluate memory dysfunction and self-reporting of symptoms in a group of high school athletes who had suffered concussion.

Methods. Neuropsychological performance prior to and following concussion was compared with the test performance of an age-matched control group. Potentially important diagnostic markers of concussion severity are discussed and linked to recovery within the 1st week of injury.

Conclusions. High school athletes who had suffered mild concussion demonstrated significant declines in memory processes relative to a noninjured control group. Statistically significant differences between preseason and postinjury memory test results were still evident in the concussion group at 4 and 7 days postinjury. Self-reported neurological symptoms such as headache, dizziness, and nausea resolved by Day 4. Duration of on-field mental status changes such as retrograde amnesia and posttraumatic confusion was related to the presence of memory impairment at 36 hours and 4 and 7 days post-injury and was also related to slower resolution of self-reported symptoms. The results of this study suggest that caution should be exercised in returning high school athletes to the playing field following concussion. On-field mental status changes appear to have prognostic utility and should be taken into account when making return-to-play decisions following concussion. Athletes who exhibit on-field mental status changes for more than 5 minutes have longer-lasting postconcussion symptoms and memory decline.