Primary objective: To examine initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score and its relationship with later cerebral atrophy in children with traumatic brain injury (TBI) using Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (QMRI) at 4 months post-injury. It was hypothesized that a lower GCS score would predict later generalized atrophy. As a guide in assessing paediatric TBI patients, the probability of developing chronic cerebral atrophy was determined based on the initial GCS score.
Methods and procedures: The probability model used data from 45 paediatric patients (mean age = 13.6) with mild-to-severe TBI and 41 paediatric (mean age = 12.4) orthopaedically-injured children.
Results: This study found a 24% increase in the odds of developing an abnormal ventricle-to-brain ratio (VBR) and a 27% increase in the odds of developing reduced white matter percentage on neuroimaging with each numerical drop in GCS score. Logistic regression models with cut-offs determined by normative QMRI data confirmed that a lower initial GCS score predicts later atrophy.
Conclusion: GCS is a commonly used measure of injury severity. It has proven to be a prognostic indicator of cognitive recovery and functional outcome and is also predictive of later parenchymal change.