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Linda M. Gerber, Ya-Lin Chiu, Nancy Carney, Roger Härtl and Jamshid Ghajar

Object

In spite of evidence that use of the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (Guidelines) would dramatically reduce morbidity and mortality, adherence to these Guidelines remains variable across trauma centers. The authors analyzed 2-week mortality due to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) from 2001 through 2009 in New York State and examined the trends in adherence to the Guidelines.

Methods

The authors calculated trends in adherence to the Guidelines and age-adjusted 2-week mortality rates between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2009. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the effect of time period on case-fatality. Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitor insertion was modeled in a 2-level hierarchical model using generalized linear mixed effects to allow for clustering by different centers.

Results

From 2001 to 2009, the case-fatality rate decreased from 22% to 13% (p < 0.0001), a change that remained significant after adjusting for factors that independently predict mortality (adjusted OR 0.52, 95% CI 0.39–0.70; p < 0.0001). Guidelines adherence increased, with the percentage of patients with ICP monitoring increasing from 56% to 75% (p < 0.0001). Adherence to cerebral perfusion pressure treatment thresholds increased from 15% to 48% (p < 0.0001). The proportion of patients having an ICP elevation greater than 25 mm Hg dropped from 42% to 29% (p = 0.0001).

Conclusions

There was a significant reduction in TBI mortality between 2001 and 2009 in New York State. Increase in Guidelines adherence occurred at the same time as the pronounced decrease in 2-week mortality and decreased rate of intracranial hypertension, suggesting a causal relationship between Guidelines adherence and improved outcomes. Our findings warrant future investigation to identify methods for increasing and sustaining adherence to evidence-based Guidelines recommendations.

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Arash Farahvar, Linda M. Gerber, Ya-Lin Chiu, Nancy Carney, Roger Härtl and Jamshid Ghajar

Object

Evidence-based guidelines recommend intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring for patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), but there is limited evidence that monitoring and treating intracranial hypertension reduces mortality. This study uses a large, prospectively collected database to examine the effect on 2-week mortality of ICP reduction therapies administered to patients with severe TBI treated either with or without an ICP monitor.

Methods

From a population of 2134 patients with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] Score <9), 1446 patients were treated with ICP-lowering therapies. Of those, 1202 had an ICP monitor inserted and 244 were treated without monitoring. Patients were admitted to one of 20 Level I and two Level II trauma centers, part of a New York State quality improvement program administered by the Brain Trauma Foundation between 2000 and 2009. This database also contains information on known independent early prognostic indicators of mortality, including age, admission GCS score, pupillary status, CT scanning findings, and hypotension.

Results

Age, initial GCS score, hypotension, and CT scan findings were associated with 2-week mortality. In addition, patients of all ages treated with an ICP monitor in place had lower mortality at 2 weeks (p = 0.02) than those treated without an ICP monitor, after adjusting for parameters that independently affect mortality.

Conclusions

In patients with severe TBI treated for intracranial hypertension, the use of an ICP monitor is associated with significantly lower mortality when compared with patients treated without an ICP monitor. Based on these findings, the authors conclude that ICP-directed therapy in patients with severe TBI should be guided by ICP monitoring.

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Arash Farahvar, Linda M. Gerber, Ya-Lin Chiu, Roger Härtl, Matteus Froelich, Nancy Carney and Jamshid Ghajar

Object

The normalization of increased intracranial pressure (ICP) in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is assumed to limit secondary brain injury and improve outcome. Despite evidence-based recommendations for monitoring and treatment of elevated ICP, there are few studies that show an association between response to ICP-directed therapeutic regimens and adjusted mortality rate. This study utilizes a large prospective database to examine the effect of response to ICP-lowering therapy on risk of death within the first 2 weeks of injury in patients who sustained TBI and are older than 16 years.

Methods

The current study is based on 1426 patients with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score < 9) of whom 388 were treated for elevated ICP (> 25 mm Hg) between 2000 and 2008 at 22 trauma centers enrolled in a New York State quality improvement program. This prospectively collected database also contains information including age, admission GCS score, pupillary status, CT scanning parameters, and hypotension, which are all known early prognostic indicators of death. Treatment of elevated ICP consisted of administration of mannitol, hypertonic saline, barbiturates, and/or drainage of CSF or decompressive craniectomy. The factors predicting ICP response to treatment and predicting death at 2 weeks were evaluated using logistic regression analyses.

Results

Increasing age and fewer hours of elevated ICP on Day 1 were found to be significant predictors (p = 0.001 and 0.0003, respectively) of a positive response to treatment. Response to ICP-lowering therapy (p = 0.03), younger age (p < 0.0001), fewer hours of elevated ICP (p < 0.0001), and absence of arterial hypotension on Day 1 (p = 0.001) significantly predicted reduced risk of death.

Conclusions

Patients who responded to ICP-lowering treatment had a 64% lower risk of death at 2 weeks than those who did not respond after adjusting for factors that independently predict risk of death.

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Arash Farahvar, Linda M. Gerber, Ya-Lin Chiu, Roger Härtl, Mateus Froelich, Nancy Carney and Jamshid Ghajar