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Cyrus Elahi, Thiago Augusto Hernandes Rocha, Núbia Cristina da Silva, Francis M. Sakita, Ansbert Sweetbert Ndebea, Anthony Fuller, Michael M. Haglund, Blandina T. Mmbaga, João Ricardo Nickenig Vissoci and Catherine A. Staton

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to determine if patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in low- and middle-income countries who receive surgery have better outcomes than patients with TBI who do not receive surgery, and whether this differs with severity of injury.

METHODS

The authors generated a series of Kaplan-Meier plots and performed multiple Cox proportional hazard models to assess the relationship between TBI surgery and TBI severity. The TBI severity was categorized using admission Glasgow Coma Scale scores: mild (14, 15), moderate (9–13), or severe (3–8). The authors investigated outcomes from admission to hospital day 14. The outcome considered was the Glasgow Outcome Scale–Extended, categorized as poor outcome (1–4) and good outcome (5–8). The authors used TBI registry data collected from 2013 to 2017 at a regional referral hospital in Tanzania.

RESULTS

Of the final 2502 patients, 609 (24%) received surgery and 1893 (76%) did not receive surgery. There were significantly fewer road traffic injuries and more violent causes of injury in those receiving surgery. Those receiving surgery were also more likely to receive care in the ICU, to have a poor outcome, to have a moderate or severe TBI, and to stay in the hospital longer. The hazard ratio for patients with TBI who underwent operation versus those who did not was 0.17 (95% CI 0.06–0.49; p < 0.001) in patients with moderate TBI; 0.2 (95% CI 0.06–0.64; p = 0.01) for those with mild TBI, and 0.47 (95% CI 0.24–0.89; p = 0.02) for those with severe TBI.

CONCLUSIONS

Those who received surgery for their TBI had a lower hazard for poor outcome than those who did not. Surgical intervention was associated with the greatest improvement in outcomes for moderate head injuries, followed by mild and severe injuries. The findings suggest a reprioritization of patients with moderate TBI—a drastic change to the traditional practice within low- and middle-income countries in which the most severely injured patients are prioritized for care.

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Era D. Mikkonen, Markus B. Skrifvars, Matti Reinikainen, Stepani Bendel, Ruut Laitio, Sanna Hoppu, Tero Ala-Kokko, Atte Karppinen and Rahul Raj

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the pediatric population. The authors assessed 1-year costs of intensive care in pediatric TBI patients.

METHODS

In this retrospective multicenter cohort study of four academic ICUs in Finland, the authors used the Finnish Intensive Care Consortium database to identify children aged 0–17 years treated for TBI in ICUs between 2003 and 2013. The authors reviewed all patient health records and head CT scans for admission, treatment, and follow-up data. Patient outcomes included functional outcome (favorable outcome defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4–5) and death within 6 months. Costs included those for the index hospitalization, rehabilitation, and social security up to 1 year after injury. To assess costs, the authors calculated the effective cost per favorable outcome (ECPFO).

RESULTS

In total, 293 patients were included, of whom 61% had moderate to severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score 3–12) and 40% were ≥ 13 years of age. Of all patients, 82% had a favorable outcome and 9% died within 6 months of injury. The mean cost per patient was €48,719 ($54,557) (95% CI €41,326–€56,112). The index hospitalization accounted for 66%, rehabilitation costs for 27%, and social security costs for 7% of total healthcare costs. The ECPFO was €59,727 ($66,884) (95% CI €52,335–€67,120). A higher ECPFO was observed among patients with clinical and treatment-related variables indicative of parenchymal swelling and high intracranial pressure. Lower ECPFO was observed among patients with higher admission GCS scores and those who had epidural hematomas.

CONCLUSIONS

Greater injury severity increases ECPFO and is associated with higher postdischarge costs in pediatric TBI patients. In this pediatric cohort, over two-thirds of all resources were spent on patients with favorable functional outcome, indicating appropriate resource allocation.