Background: Oxidative stress is said to strongly influence the neurological recovery of patients following a severe head injury. Estimation of the markers of oxidative stress in the blood of such patients can hence aid in predicting the prognosis of head injury.
Methods: Erythrocyte thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and plasma ceruloplasmin (CP) levels were estimated in 24 severe head-injury patients on days 1, 7 and 21 of the post-traumatic period and compared with levels in 25 healthy age- and sex-matched controls. These parameters reflecting oxidative stress status were related to the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores of patients noted at the same time points of the study period.
Results: Lipid peroxidation as indicated by increased levels of erythrocyte TBARS remained significantly elevated in severe head injury patients compared to controls on day 1 (p<0.001), day 7 (p<0.001) and 21 (p<0.001) of the post-traumatic period. Plasma CP levels remained significantly elevated (p<0.001) at these three time points compared to controls. The significant decrease in lipid peroxidation products (p<0.01) and significant increase in CP levels (p<0.001) on day 21 compared to day 1 in head injury patients correlated well with the significant improvement in GCS scores of patients on day 21 compared to day 1 (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The above results could account for the adaptation of the study patients to severe oxidative stress, as evidenced by their clinical recovery trend during the study period.