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Aditya Vedantam, Jose-Miguel Yamal, Hyunsoo Hwang, Claudia S. Robertson, and Shankar P. Gopinath

OBJECTIVE

Posttraumatic hydrocephalus (PTH) affects 11.9%–36% of patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy (DC) and is an important cause of morbidity after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Early diagnosis and treatment of PTH can prevent further neurological compromise in patients who are recovering from TBI. There is limited data on predictors of shunting for PTH after DC for TBI.

METHODS

Prospectively collected data from the erythropoietin severe TBI randomized controlled trial were studied. Demographic, clinical, and imaging data were analyzed for enrolled patients who underwent a DC. All head CT scans during admission were reviewed and assessed for PTH by the Gudeman criteria or the modified Frontal Horn Index ≥ 33%. The presence of subdural hygromas was categorized as unilateral/bilateral hemispheric or interhemispheric. Using L1-regularized logistic regression to select variables, a multiple logistic regression model was created with ventriculoperitoneal shunting as the binary outcome. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

A total of 60 patients who underwent DC were studied. Fifteen patients (25%) underwent placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for PTH. The majority of patients underwent unilateral decompressive hemicraniectomy (n = 46, 77%). Seven patients (12%) underwent bifrontal DC. Unilateral and bilateral hemispheric hygromas were noted in 31 (52%) and 7 (11%) patients, respectively. Interhemispheric hygromas were observed in 19 patients (32%). The mean duration from injury to first CT scan showing hemispheric subdural hygroma and interhemispheric hygroma was 7.9 ± 6.5 days and 14.9 ± 11.7 days, respectively. The median duration from injury to shunt placement was 43.7 days. Multivariate analysis showed that the presence of interhemispheric hygroma (OR 63.6, p = 0.001) and younger age (OR 0.78, p = 0.009) were significantly associated with the need for a shunt after DC.

CONCLUSIONS

The presence of interhemispheric subdural hygromas and younger age were associated with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus after DC in patients with severe TBI.

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Aditya Vedantam, Jose-Miguel Yamal, Maria Laura Rubin, Claudia S. Robertson, and Shankar P. Gopinath

OBJECT

There is limited literature available to guide transfusion practices for patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Recent studies have shown that maintaining a higher hemoglobin threshold after severe TBI offers no clinical benefit. The present study aimed to determine if a higher transfusion threshold was independently associated with an increased risk of progressive hemorrhagic injury (PHI), thereby contributing to higher rates of morbidity and mortality.

METHODS

The authors performed a secondary analysis of data obtained from a recently performed randomized clinical trial studying the effects of erythropoietin and blood transfusions on neurological recovery after severe TBI. Assigned hemoglobin thresholds (10 g/dl vs 7 g/dl) were maintained with packed red blood cell transfusions during the acute phase after injury. PHI was defined as the presence of new or enlarging intracranial hematomas on CT as long as 10 days after injury. A severe PHI was defined as an event that required an escalation of medical management or surgical intervention. Clinical and imaging parameters and transfusion thresholds were used in a multivariate Cox regression analysis to identify independent risk factors for PHI.

RESULTS

Among 200 patients enrolled in the trial, PHI was detected in 61 patients (30.5%). The majority of patients with PHI had a new, delayed contusion (n = 29) or an increase in contusion size (n = 15). The mean time interval between injury and identification of PHI was 17.2 ± 15.8 hours. The adjusted risk of severe PHI was 2.3 times higher for patients with a transfusion threshold of 10 g/dl (95% confidence interval 1.1–4.7; p = 0.02). Diffuse brain injury was associated with a lower risk of PHI events, whereas higher initial intracranial pressure increased the risk of PHI (p < 0.001). PHI was associated with a longer median length of stay in the intensive care unit (18.3 vs 14.4 days, respectively; p = 0.04) and poorer Glasgow Outcome Scale scores (42.9% vs 25.5%, respectively; p = 0.02) at 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS

A higher transfusion threshold of 10 g/dl after severe TBI increased the risk of severe PHI events. These results indicate the potential adverse effect of using a higher hemoglobin transfusion threshold after severe TBI.

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Sungho Lee, Hyunsoo Hwang, Jose-Miguel Yamal, J. Clay Goodman, Imoigele P. Aisiku, Shankar Gopinath, and Claudia S. Robertson

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) occurs frequently after TBI and independently worsens outcome. The present study aimed to identify potential admission characteristics associated with post-TBI MODS.

METHODS

The authors performed a secondary analysis of a recent randomized clinical trial studying the effects of erythropoietin and blood transfusion threshold on neurological recovery after TBI. Admission clinical, demographic, laboratory, and imaging parameters were used in a multivariable Cox regression analysis to identify independent risk factors for MODS following TBI, defined as maximum total Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score > 7 within 10 days of TBI.

RESULTS

Two hundred patients were initially recruited and 166 were included in the final analysis. Respiratory dysfunction was the most common nonneurological organ system dysfunction, occurring in 62% of the patients. International Mission for Prognosis and Analysis of Clinical Trials (IMPACT) probability of poor outcome at admission was significantly associated with MODS following TBI (odds ratio [OR] 8.88, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.94–42.68, p < 0.05). However, more commonly used measures of TBI severity, such as the Glasgow Coma Scale, Injury Severity Scale, and Marshall classification, were not associated with post-TBI MODS. In addition, initial plasma concentrations of interleukin (IL)–6, IL-8, and IL-10 were significantly associated with the development of MODS (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.20–1.80, p < 0.001 for IL-6; OR 1.26, 95% CI 1.01–1.58, p = 0.042 for IL-8; OR 1.77, 95% CI 1.24–2.53, p = 0.002 for IL-10) as well as individual organ dysfunction (SOFA component score ≥ 1). Finally, MODS following TBI was significantly associated with mortality (OR 5.95, 95% CI 2.18–19.14, p = 0.001), and SOFA score was significantly associated with poor outcome at 6 months (Glasgow Outcome Scale score < 4) when analyzed as a continuous variable (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.06–1.40, p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

Admission IMPACT probability of poor outcome and initial plasma concentrations of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 were associated with MODS following TBI.

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George Williams, Vahed Maroufy, Laila Rasmy, Derek Brown, Duo Yu, Hai Zhu, Yashar Talebi, Xueying Wang, Emy Thomas, Gen Zhu, Ashraf Yaseen, Hongyu Miao, Luis Leon Novelo, Degui Zhi, Stacia M. DeSantis, Hongjian Zhu, Jose-Miguel Yamal, David Aguilar, and Hulin Wu

OBJECTIVE

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a devastating cerebrovascular condition, not only due to the effect of initial hemorrhage, but also due to the complication of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI). While hypertension facilitated by vasopressors is often initiated to prevent DCI, which vasopressor is most effective in improving outcomes is not known. The objective of this study was to determine associations between initial vasopressor choice and mortality in patients with nontraumatic SAH.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study using a large, national electronic medical record data set from 2000–2014 to identify patients with a new diagnosis of nontraumatic SAH (based on ICD-9 codes) who were treated with the vasopressors dopamine, phenylephrine, or norepinephrine. The relationship between the initial choice of vasopressor therapy and the primary outcome, which was defined as in-hospital death or discharge to hospice care, was examined.

RESULTS

In total, 2634 patients were identified with nontraumatic SAH who were treated with a vasopressor. In this cohort, the average age was 56.5 years, 63.9% were female, and 36.5% of patients developed the primary outcome. The incidence of the primary outcome was higher in those initially treated with either norepinephrine (47.6%) or dopamine (50.6%) than with phenylephrine (24.5%). After adjusting for possible confounders using propensity score methods, the adjusted OR of the primary outcome was higher with dopamine (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.70–2.81) and norepinephrine (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.80–2.80) compared with phenylephrine. Sensitivity analyses using different variable selection procedures, causal inference models, and machine-learning methods confirmed the main findings.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with nontraumatic SAH, phenylephrine was significantly associated with reduced mortality in SAH patients compared to dopamine or norepinephrine. Prospective randomized clinical studies are warranted to confirm this finding.