Diffuse brain swelling in severely head-injured children. A report from the NIH Traumatic Coma Data Bank

J Neurosurg. 1992 Mar;76(3):450-4. doi: 10.3171/jns.1992.76.3.0450.


In this study, data were prospectively collected from 753 patients (111 children and 642 adults) with severe head injury and examined for evidence of diffuse brain swelling and its association with outcome. Diffuse brain swelling occurred approximately twice as often in children (aged 16 years or younger) as in adults. A high mortality rate (53%) was found in these children, which was three times that of the children without diffuse brain swelling (16%). Adults with diffuse brain swelling had a mortality rate (46%) similar to that of children, but only slightly higher than that for adults without diffuse brain swelling (39%). When the diagnosis of diffuse brain swelling was expanded to include patients with diffuse brain swelling plus small parenchymal hemorrhages (less than 15 cu cm), these mortality rates were virtually unchanged.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Edema / etiology*
  • Brain Edema / mortality
  • Brain Edema / physiopathology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / mortality
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / physiopathology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / etiology
  • Hypoxia / etiology
  • Intracranial Pressure
  • Life Tables
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis