Background: This study was performed to investigate the relationship between corpus callosum (CC) injury and prognosis in traumatic axonal injury (TAI).
Method: We retrospectively reviewed 264 patients with severe head trauma who underwent a conventional MR imaging in the first 60 days after injury. They were selected from a prospectively collected database of 1048 patients with severe head trauma admitted in our hospital. TAI lesions were defined as areas of increased signal intensity on T2 and FLAIR or areas of decreased signal on gradient-echo T2. We attempted to determine whether any MR imaging findings of TAI lesions at CC could be related to prognosis. Neurological impairment was assessed at 1 year after injury by means of GOS-E (good outcome being GOS-E 4/5 and bad outcome being GOS-E <4). We adjusted the multivariable analysis for the prognostic factors according to the IMPACT studies: the Core model (age, motor score at admission, and pupillary reactivity) and the Extended model (including CT information and second insults).
Results: We found 97 patients (37 %) with TAI at CC and 167 patients (63 %) without CC lesions at MR. A total of 62 % of the patients with CC lesions had poor outcome, whereas 38 % showed good prognosis. The presence of TAI lesions at the corpus callosum was associated with poor outcome 1 year after brain trauma (p < 0.001, OR 3.8, 95 % CI: 2.04-7.06). The volume of CC lesions measured on T2 and FLAIR sequences was negatively correlated with the GOS-E after adjustment for independent prognostic factors (p = 0.01, OR 2.23, 95 % CI:1.17-4.26). Also the presence of lesions at splenium was statistically related to worse prognosis (p = 0.002, OR 8.1, 95 % CI: 2.2-29.82). We did not find statistical significance in outcome between hemorrhagic and non-hemorrhagic CC lesions.
Conclusions: The presence of CC is associated with a poor outcome. The total volume of the CC lesion is an independent prognostic factor for poor outcome in severe head trauma.
Keywords: Corpus callosum injury; Magnetic resonance imaging; Severe head trauma; Traumatic axonal injury; Traumatic brain injury.