Introduction: Controversy exists about the optimal treatment for patients with a traumatic acute subdural haematoma (ASDH) and an intracerebral haematoma/contusion (t-ICH). Treatment varies largely between different regions. The effect of this practice variation on patient outcome is unknown. Here, we present the protocol for a prospective multicentre observational study aimed at comparing the effectiveness of different treatment strategies in patients with ASDH and/or t-ICH. Specifically, the aims are to compare (1) an acute surgical approach to an expectant approach and (2) craniotomy to decompressive craniectomy when evacuating the haematoma.
Methods and analysis: Patients presenting to the emergency room with an ASDH and/or an t-ICH are eligible for inclusion. Standardised prospective data on patient and injury characteristics, treatment and outcome will be collected on 1000 ASDH and 750 t-ICH patients in 60-70 centres within two multicentre prospective observational cohort studies: the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) and Neurotraumatology Quality Registry (Net-QuRe). The interventions of interest are acute surgery, defined as surgery directly after the first CT at presentation versus late or no surgery and craniotomy versus decompressive craniectomy. The primary outcome measure is the Glasgow Outcome Score-Extended at 6 months. Secondary outcome measures include in-hospital mortality, quality of life and neuropsychological tests. In the primary analysis, the effect of treatment preference (eg, proportion of patients in which the intervention under study is preferred) per hospital will be analysed with random effects ordinal regression models, adjusted for casemix and stratified by study. Such a hospital-level approach reduces confounding by the indication. Sensitivity analyses will include propensity score matching, with treatment defined on patient level. This study is designed to determine the best acute management strategy for ASDH and t-ICH by exploiting the existing between-hospital variability in surgical management.
Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval was obtained in all participating countries. Results of surgical management of ASDH and t-ICH/contusion will separately be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Trial registration number: NCT02210221 and NL 5761.
Keywords: acute subdural hematoma; epidemiology; intracerebral hematoma; neurosurgery; traumatic brain injury.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.