Objective: To compare day-of-injury (DOI) computerized tomography (CT) findings with acute injury severity markers, disability at acute hospital admission and discharge from inpatient rehabilitation, injury severity markers, and degree of postacute cerebral atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Design: Retrospective chart review of 240 consecutive traumatic brain injury (TBI) admissions (mean age 31.7 +/- 15.8 yrs) with moderate-to-severe initial brain injury. All DOI CT abnormalities were qualitatively rated. Disability was assessed using the Disability Rating Scale (DRS) and the FIM measure. In a representative subset, cerebral atrophy was determined by the ventricle-to-brain ratio (VBR) method and quantified from MRI scans 25 or more days postinjury.
Results: CT classification resulted in nonsignificant differences in DRS and FIM ratings at the time of discharge from the rehabilitation unit, except in brainstem injury subjects who had significantly higher DRS and lower FIM scores at rehabilitation discharge. At 25 or more days postinjury, presence of any DOI CT abnormality was associated with larger VBR. Increased VBR, as an index of cerebral atrophy, was associated with worse rehabilitation discharge DRS and FIM ratings.
Conclusions: Other than brainstem injury, DOI CT findings relate poorly to rehabilitation outcome. Presence of DOI CT abnormalities were associated with the development of cerebral atrophy, which was associated with poorer rehabilitation discharge DRS and FIM scores.