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Aziz S. Alali, David Gomez, Chethan Sathya, Randall S. Burd, Todd G. Mainprize, Richard Moulton, Richard A. Falcone Jr., Charles de Mestral, and Avery Nathens

OBJECT

Well-designed studies linking intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring with improved outcomes among children with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) are lacking. The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship between ICP monitoring in children and in-hospital mortality following severe TBI.

METHODS

An observational study was conducted using data derived from 153 adult or mixed (adult and pediatric) trauma centers participating in the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) and 29 pediatric trauma centers participating in the pediatric pilot TQIP between 2010 and 2012. Random-intercept multilevel modeling was used to examine the association between ICP monitoring and in-hospital mortality among children with severe TBI ≤16 years of age after adjusting for important confounders. This association was evaluated at the patient level and at the hospital level. In a sensitivity analysis, this association was reexamined in a propensity-matched cohort.

RESULTS

A total of 1705 children with severe TBI were included in the study cohort. The overall in-hospital mortality was 14.3% of patients (n = 243), whereas the mortality of the 273 patients (16%) who underwent invasive ICP monitoring was 11% (n = 30). After adjusting for patient- and hospital-level characteristics, ICP monitoring was associated with lower in-hospital mortality (adjusted OR 0.50; 95% CI 0.30–0.85; p = 0.01). It is possible that patients who were managed with ICP monitoring were selected because of an anticipated favorable or unfavorable outcome. To further address this potential selection bias, the analysis was repeated with the hospital-specific rate of ICP monitoring use as the exposure. The adjusted OR for death of children treated at high ICP–use hospitals was 0.49 compared with those treated at low ICP-use hospitals (95% CI 0.31–0.78; p = 0.003). Variations in ICP monitoring use accounted for 15.9% of the interhospital variation in mortality among children with severe TBI. Similar results were obtained after analyzing the data using propensity score-matching methods.

CONCLUSIONS

In this observational study, ICP monitoring use was associated with lower hospital mortality at both the patient and hospital levels. However, the contribution of variable ICP monitoring rates to interhospital variation in pediatric TBI mortality was modest.

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Cory McFall, Alexandra D. Beier, Kelsey Hayward, Emily C. Alberto, Randall S. Burd, Bethany J. Farr, David P. Mooney, Kristin Gee, Jeffrey S. Upperman, Mauricio A. Escobar Jr., Nicole G. Coufal, Helen A. Harvey, and Gerald Gollin

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to evaluate the contemporary management of pediatric open skull fractures and assess the impact of variations in antibiotic and operative management on the incidence of infectious complications.

METHODS

The records of children who presented from 2009 to 2017 to 6 pediatric trauma centers with an open calvarial skull fracture were reviewed. Data collected included mechanism and anatomical site of injury; presence and depth of fracture depression; antibiotic choice, route, and duration; operative management; and infectious complications.

RESULTS

Of the fractures among the 138 patients included in the study, 48.6% were frontal and 80.4% were depressed; 58.7% of patients underwent fragment elevation. The average duration of intravenous antibiotics was 4.6 (range 0–21) days. Only 53 patients (38.4%) received a single intravenous antibiotic for fewer than 4 days. and 56 (40.6%) received oral antibiotics for an average of 7.3 (range 1–20) days. Wounds were managed exclusively in the emergency department in 28.3% of patients. Two children had infectious complications, including a late-presenting hardware infection and a superficial wound infection. There were no cases of meningitis or intracranial abscess. Neither antibiotic spectrum or duration nor bedside irrigation was associated with the development of infection.

CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of infectious complications in this population of children with open skull fractures was low and was not associated with the antibiotic strategy or site of wound care. Most minimally contaminated open skull fractures are probably best managed with a short duration of a single antibiotic, and emergency department closure is appropriate unless there is significant contamination or fragment elevation is necessary.