Long-Term Functional Outcomes after Blunt Cerebrovascular Injury: A 20-Year Experience

Am Surg. 2018 Apr 1;84(4):551-556.


Since blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI) became increasingly recognized more than 20 years ago, significant improvements have been made in both diagnosis and treatment. Little is known regarding long-term functional outcomes in BCVI. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of BCVI on those long-term outcomes. All patients with BCVI from 1996 to 2014 were identified from the trauma registry. Functional outcome was measured using the Boston University Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care. Multiple regression analysis was performed to identify potential predictors of outcomes. A total of 509 patients were identified. Overall mortality was 18 per cent (BCVI-related = 1%). Of the 415 survivors, follow-up was obtained in 77 (19%). Mean follow-up was five years, with a maximum of 19 years. Mean age and injury severity score were 47 and 25, respectively. Six (8%) patients suffered strokes. Mean Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care scores were 59 (mobility), 58 (activity), and 44 (cognitive function), each indicating significant impairment compared with normal. Multiple regression models identified 1) age as a predictor of decreased mobility, 2) injury severity score as a predictor of decreased mobility, activity, and cognitive function, and 3) stroke as a predictor of decreased activity, cognitive function, and likely mobility. Development of stroke and increased injury severity resulted in worse long-term functional outcomes after BCVI. Thus, stroke prevention with optimal diagnostic and treatment algorithms remains critical in the successful treatment of BCVI because it has significant impact on long-term functional outcomes and is the only modifiable predictor of outcomes in patients after BCVI.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebrovascular Trauma / complications
  • Cerebrovascular Trauma / diagnosis
  • Cerebrovascular Trauma / mortality
  • Cerebrovascular Trauma / physiopathology*
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Tennessee / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / mortality
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / physiopathology*