Objective: To describe the incidence of non-neurologic organ dysfunction and its association with outcome in patients with severe traumatic brain injury admitted to intensive care.
Design: Observational cohort study.
Setting: Foothills Medical Centre, which is the only neurosurgical service in southern Alberta (population approximately 1.3 million).
Patients: Patients were 209 consecutive patients with severe traumatic brain injury.
Measurements and main results: Non-neurologic organ dysfunction was measured by the maximum modified multiple organ dysfunction score. Organ system failure was defined as a component score of >/=3 on any day during the patient's intensive care unit stay. One hundred and eighty-five patients (89%) developed dysfunction of at least one non-neurologic organ system. Ninety-six organ system failures were identified in 74 patients (35%). Respiratory failure was the most common non-neurologic organ system failure, occurring in 23% of patients, whereas cardiovascular failure occurred in 18%. Eight patients (4%) had failure of the coagulation system. One patient had renal failure, whereas no patient developed hepatic failure. In a multivariate model, non-neurologic organ dysfunction was independently associated with hospital mortality (odds ratio for hospital mortality, 1.63; 95% confidence interval, 1.34, 1.98 for one maximum modified multiple organ dysfunction score point). Non-neurologic organ dysfunction was also independently associated with dichotomized Glasgow Outcome Score, as a measure of neurologic outcome (odds ratio for unfavorable neurologic outcome, 1.53; 95% confidence interval, 1.22, 1.98 for one maximum modified multiple organ dysfunction score point). The timing of the organ dysfunction did not appear to be important in the prediction of outcome.
Conclusions: Non-neurologic organ dysfunction is common in patients with severe traumatic brain injury and is independently associated with worse outcome.