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Ryan S. Kitagawa, Robert M. Van Haren, Shoji Yokobori, David Cohen, Samuel R. Beckerman, Faiz Ahmad and M. Ross Bullock

Object

Simultaneous traumatic brain injury (TBI) and aortic injury has been considered unsurvivable for many years because treatments such as sedation and blood pressure goals conflict for these 2 conditions. Additionally, surgical interventions for aortic injury often require full anticoagulation, which is contraindicated in patients with TBI. For these reasons, and due to the relative rarity of aortic injury/TBI, little data are available to guide treating physicians.

Methods

A retrospective review was performed on all simultaneous TBI and aortic injury cases from 2000 to 2012 at a university-affiliated, Level I trauma center. Patient demographics, imaging studies, interventions, and outcomes were analyzed. Traumatic brain injury/aortic injury cases treated with endovascular stenting were specifically studied to determine trends in procedure timing, use of anticoagulation, and neurological outcome.

Results

Thirty-three patients with concurrent TBI and aortic injury were identified over a 12-year period. The median patient age was 44 years (range 16–86 years) and the overall mortality rate after imaging diagnosis was 46%. All surviving patients were awake and neurologically functional at discharge, and 83% were discharged home or to rehabilitation facilities. Patients who died had a higher Injury Severity Scale score (p = 0.006). Severe TBI (p = 0.045) or hemodynamic instability (p = 0.015) upon arrival to the hospital was also correlated with increased mortality rates. Thirty-three percent of aortic injury/TBI patients (n = 11) underwent endovascular stenting, and 7 of these patients received intravenous anticoagulation therapy at the time of surgery. Six of these 7 anticoagulation-treated patients experienced no significant progression on postoperative brain CT, whereas 1 patient died of hemodynamic instability prior to undergoing further imaging.

Conclusions

Simultaneous TBI and aortic injury is a rare condition with a historically poor prognosis. However, these results suggest that many patients can survive with a good quality of life. Technological advances such as endovascular aortic stenting may improve patient outcome, and anticoagulation is not absolutely contraindicated after TBI.

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Shoji Yokobori, Shyam Gajavelli, Stefania Mondello, Jixiang Mo-Seaney, Helen M. Bramlett, W. Dalton Dietrich and M. Ross Bullock

Object

In patients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), hypothermia therapy has not shown efficacy in multicenter clinical trials. Armed with the post hoc data from the latest clinical trial (National Acute Brain Injury Study: Hypothermia II), the authors hypothesized that hypothermia may be beneficial in an acute subdural hematoma (SDH) rat model by blunting the effects of ischemia/reperfusion injury. The major aim of this study was to test the efficacy of temperature management in reducing brain damage after acute SDH.

Methods

The rats were induced with acute SDH and placed into 1 of 4 groups: 1) normothermia group (37°C); 2) early hypothermia group, head and body temperature reduced to 33°C 30 minutes prior to craniotomy; 3) late hypothermia group, temperature lowered to 33°C 30 minutes after decompression; and 4) sham group, no acute SDH (only craniotomy with normothermia). To assess for neuronal and glial cell damage, the authors analyzed microdialysate concentrations of GFAP and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1) by using a 100-kD probe. Fluoro-Jade B–positive neurons and injury volume with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining were also measured.

Results

In the early phase of reperfusion (30 minutes, 2.5 hours after decompression), extracellular UCH-L1 in the early hypothermia group was significantly lower than in the normothermia group (early, 4.9 ± 1.0 ng/dl; late, 35.2 ± 12.1 ng/dl; normothermia, 50.20 ± 28.3 ng/dl; sham, 3.1 ± 1.3 ng/dl; early vs normothermia, p < 0.01; sham vs normothermia, p < 0.01, analyzed using ANOVA followed by a post hoc Bonferroni test). In the late phase of reperfusion (> 2.5 hours after decompression), extracellular GFAP in the early hypothermia group was also lower than in the normothermia and late hypothermia groups (early, 5.5 ± 2.9 ng/dl; late, 7.4 ± 3.4 ng/dl; normothermia, 15.3 ± 8.4 ng/dl; sham, 3.3 ± 1.0 ng/dl; normothermia vs sham; p < 0.01). The number of Fluoro-Jade B–positive cells in the early hypothermia group was significantly smaller than that in the normothermia group (normothermia vs early: 774,588 ± 162,173 vs 180,903 ± 42,212, p < 0.05). Also, the injury area and volume were smaller in the early hypothermia group in which hypothermia was induced before craniotomy and cerebral reperfusion (early, 115.2 ± 15.4 mm3; late, 344.7 ± 29.1 mm3; normothermia, 311.2 ± 79.2 mm3; p < 0.05).

Conclusions

The data suggest that early, preoperatively induced hypothermia could mediate the reduction of neuronal and glial damage in the reperfusion phase of ischemia/reperfusion brain injury.