Thrombocytopenia predicts progressive hemorrhage after head trauma

J Neurotrauma. 2005 Feb;22(2):291-6. doi: 10.1089/neu.2005.22.291.


Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often show progression of hemorrhagic injuries (PHI) after admission to the hospital. This progression is correlated with poor outcome. In this study, we have investigated if thrombocytopenia was a risk factor for PHI. The study was performed on patients admitted to the hospital with severe TBI during year 2000. In total, 50 patients were admitted with severe TBI. Twenty-seven out of these had complete platelet counts at admission and 24 hours thereafter and were included for further study. We found thrombocytopenia at admission to be a risk factor for PHI (p=0.008). We also found that the platelet count decreased more significantly during the first 24 h after injury in patients with PHI compared to patients without PHI (p=0.009). A trend towards longer periods of mechanical ventilation in patients with PHI compared to patients without PHI was identified. These findings support a causal relationship between thrombocytopenia and PHI. The findings provide a rationale for future studies of hemostatic agents in the treatment of TBI in order to minimise complications caused by PHI.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • Brain Injuries / blood
  • Brain Injuries / complications*
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / blood
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / etiology*
  • Platelet Count
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombocytopenia / complications*