Risk factors predicting operable intracranial hematomas in head injury

J Neurosurg. 1992 Jul;77(1):9-14. doi: 10.3171/jns.1992.77.1.0009.


A study was performed to examine the incidence of operable traumatic intracranial hematomas accompanying head injuries of differing degrees of severity, and to see if factors predicting operable mass lesions could be identified. Logistic analysis was used to identify independent predictors of operable traumatic intracranial hematomas. Data were gathered prospectively on 1039 patients admitted with head injury between January, 1986, and December, 1990. Patient age, Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, pupillary inequality, and injury by falling were all independent predictors of the presence of operable intracranial hematomas (p = 0.0000, 0.0000, 0.0182, and 0.0001, respectively). Injury to vehicle occupants was less likely to result in operable mass lesions (p = 0.0001) than injury by other means. The incidence of traumatic intracranial hematomas in patients over 50 years old was three to four times higher than in those under 30 years of age. Not surprisingly, the incidence of operable hematomas increased with decreasing GCS scores. However, even at a GCS score of 13 to 15, patients with other risk factors had a substantial incidence of operable mass lesions. There was a 29% incidence of operable intracranial hematomas for patients with a GCS score of 13 to 15, aged over 40 years and injured in a fall. It is suggested that patients who are middle-aged or older, or those injured in falls, are at particular risk for traumatic intracranial hematomas even if their GCS score is high. These patients should have early definitive investigation with computerized tomography in order to identify operable hematomas and to initiate surgical treatment prior to neurological deterioration from mass effect.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Closed / complications*
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnostic imaging
  • Head Injuries, Closed / etiology
  • Hematoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Hematoma / etiology*
  • Hematoma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed