Results of early cranial decompression as an initial approach for damage control therapy in severe traumatic brain injury in a hospital with limited resources

J Neurosci Rural Pract. Jan-Mar 2016;7(1):7-12. doi: 10.4103/0976-3147.172151.


Introduction: Severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) is a disease that generates significant mortality and disability in Latin America, and specifically in Colombia. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the 12-month clinical outcome in patients with sTBI managed with an early cranial decompression (ECD) as the main procedure for damage control (DC) therapy, performed in a University Hospital in Colombia over a 4-year period.

Materials and methods: A database of 106 patients who received the ECD procedure, and were managed according to the strategy for DC in neurotrauma, was analyzed. Variables were evaluated, and the patient outcome was determined according to the Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) at 12 months postinjury. This was used to generate a dichotomous variable with "favorable" (GOS of 4 or 5) or "unfavorable" (GOS of 1-3) outcomes; analysis of variance was performed with the Chi-square, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney and Fisher tests.

Results: An overall survival rate of 74.6% was observed for the procedure, At 12 months postsurgery, a favorable clinical outcome (GOS 4-5) was found in 70 patients (66.1%), Unfavorable outcomes in patients were associated with the following factors: Closed trauma, an Injury Severity Score >16, obliterated basal cisterns, subdural hematoma as the main injury seen on the admission computed tomography, and nonreactive pupils observed in the emergency department.

Conclusion: Twelve months outcome of patients with sTBI managed with ECD in a neuromonitoring limited resource University Hospital in Colombia shows an important survival rate with favorable clinical outcome measure with GOS.

Keywords: Cranial decompression; damage control; traumatic brain injury.