Background: Although some pediatric patients with small traumatic epidural hematoma (EDH) are observed without surgical drainage, clinical practice remains variable.
Objectives: Create a prediction rule to identify patients with EDH unlikely to fail hospital observation.
Methods: Retrospective review at a level I pediatric trauma center between 2003 and 2014. Presenting clinical and radiographic features were compared between those successfully to failed observation.
Results: Two hundred twenty-two patients with EDH whose initial management strategy was observation were analyzed; 196 (88%) were successfully observed. The group failing observation was more likely to present with altered mental status (RR 18.8; 95% CI 8.7-49.6), has larger median bleed thickness (observed = 5.6mm versus failed observation = 10.9mm, p<0.01), median bleed volume (observed = 2.1ml versus failed observation = 15.7ml, p<0.01), and mass effect (RR 3.7; 95% CI 1.8-7.7). No mass effect, EDH volume<15ml, and no neurologic deficits predicted patients at low risk of failing observation with a positive predictive value of 98% (95% CI 93-99%). There was no difference in median discharge Glasgow outcome scores (5 in both groups, p=0.20).
Conclusion: Patients with no mass effect and EDH volume <15ml on initial CT scan and no neurologic deficit are at low risk of failing observation.
Level of evidence: Retrospective cohort level I.
Keywords: Epidural hematoma; Head injury; Observation; Pediatric; Trauma.
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