Demographics and clinical characteristics of acute traumatic brain injury patients in the different Neuroimaging Radiological Interpretation System (NIRIS) categories

J Neuroradiol. 2021 Mar;48(2):104-111. doi: 10.1016/j.neurad.2019.07.002. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Purpose: To characterize the demographics, clinical and imaging findings, and outcomes of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients in each of NeuroImaging Radiological Interpretation System (NIRIS) categories.

Material and methods: We considered all consecutive patients transported to Stanford Hospital's emergency department by ambulance or helicopter between November 2015 and April 2017. We retained adult patients (> 18 years old) for whom a trauma alert was triggered and who underwent a non-contrast head computer tomography (CT) because of suspected TBI. We reviewed the non-contrast CT scans in these patients for the NIH TBI common data elements (CDEs). We recorded, then assessed differences in terms of demographics, clinical characteristics, imaging CDEs, and outcomes in patients from the different NIRIS categories.

Results: In all, 1152 patients were included in this study. Patients with NIRIS 0 imaging findings were significantly younger than patients in other NIRIS categories (P<0.001). Motor vehicle accidents and falls from height were the most common mechanisms of injury across NIRIS categories. GCS scores decreased with increasing NIRIS category imaging findings and were significantly lower in patients with NIRIS 4 imaging findings (P<0.001). Significant differences in NIRIS categories were observed for all imaging CDEs (P<0.001), in agreement with the definition of the different NIRIS categories. Mortality increased progressively with increasing NIRIS severity.

Conclusions: TBI patients in different NIRIS categories have different clinical characteristics, hospital courses and outcomes. This natural history assessment of patients from different NIRIS categories could thus serve as a reference standard for future TBI clinical trials.

Keywords: CT; Clinical characteristics; Computed tomography; Demographics; TBI; Traumatic brain injury.