Early radiographic findings in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been studied in hopes of better predicting injury severity and outcome. However, prior attempts have generally not considered the various types of intracranial hemorrhage in isolation and have typically not excluded patients with potentially confounding extracranial injuries. Therefore, the authors examined the associations of various radiographic findings with short-term outcome to assess the potential utility of these findings in future prognostic models.
The authors retrospectively identified 1716 patients who had experienced TBI without major extracranial injuries, and categorized them into the following TBI subtypes: subdural hematoma (SDH), traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, intraparenchymal hemorrhage (which included intraventricular hemorrhage), and epidural hematoma. They specifically considered isolated forms of hemorrhage, in which only 1 subtype was present.
In general, the presence of an isolated SDH was more likely to result in worse outcomes than the presence of other isolated forms of traumatic intracranial hemorrhage. Discharge to home was less likely and perihospital mortality rates were generally higher in patients with SDH. These findings were not simply related to age and were not fully captured by the admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score. The presence of SDH had a much higher sensitivity for poor outcome than the presence of other TBI subtypes, and was more sensitive for these poor outcomes than having a low GCS score (3–8).
In these ways, SDH was the most important finding associated with poor outcome, and the authors show that consideration of SDH, specifically, can augment age and GCS score in classification and prognostic models for TBI.