The association between admission systolic blood pressure and mortality in significant traumatic brain injury: a multi-centre cohort study

Injury. 2014 Mar;45(3):612-7. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2013.09.008. Epub 2013 Sep 16.


Introduction: Low systolic blood pressure (SBP) is an important secondary insult following traumatic brain injury (TBI), but its exact relationship with outcome is not well characterised. Although a SBP of <90 mmHg represents the threshold for hypotension in consensus TBI treatment guidelines, recent studies suggest redefining hypotension at higher levels. This study therefore aimed to fully characterise the association between admission SBP and mortality to further inform resuscitation endpoints.

Methods: We conducted a multicentre cohort study using data from the largest European trauma registry. Consecutive adult patients with AIS head scores >2 admitted directly to specialist neuroscience centres between 2005 and July 2012 were studied. Multilevel logistic regression models were developed to examine the association between admission SBP and 30 day inpatient mortality. Models were adjusted for confounders including age, severity of injury, and to account for differential quality of hospital care.

Results: 5057 patients were included in complete case analyses. Admission SBP demonstrated a smooth u-shaped association with outcome in a bivariate analysis, with increasing mortality at both lower and higher values, and no evidence of any threshold effect. Adjusting for confounding slightly attenuated the association between mortality and SBP at levels <120 mmHg, and abolished the relationship for higher SBP values. Case-mix adjusted odds of death were 1.5 times greater at <120 mmHg, doubled at <100 mmHg, tripled at <90 mmHg, and six times greater at SBP<70 mmHg, p<0.01.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that TBI studies should model SBP as a continuous variable and may suggest that current TBI treatment guidelines, using a cut-off for hypotension at SBP<90 mmHg, should be reconsidered.

Keywords: Craniocerebral trauma; Hypotension; Resuscitation; Systolic blood pressure.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Brain Injuries / mortality*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / mortality*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypotension / mortality*
  • Hypotension / physiopathology
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Survival Analysis
  • Trauma Centers*
  • Triage