Multiorgan Dysfunction After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: Epidemiology, Mechanisms, and Clinical Management

Chest. 2021 Sep;160(3):956-964. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.01.016. Epub 2021 Jan 16.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major global health problem and a major contributor to morbidity and mortality following multisystem trauma. Extracranial organ dysfunction is common after severe TBI and significantly impacts clinical care and outcomes following injury. Despite this, extracranial organ dysfunction remains an understudied topic compared with organ dysfunction in other critical care paradigms. In this review, we will: 1) summarize the epidemiology of extracranial multiorgan dysfunction following severe TBI; 2) examine relevant mechanisms that may be involved in the development of multi-organ dysfunction following severe TBI; and 3) discuss clinical management strategies to care for these complex patients.

Keywords: critical care; multiorgan dysfunction; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / complications
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / diagnosis
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Organ Failure* / epidemiology
  • Multiple Organ Failure* / etiology
  • Multiple Organ Failure* / physiopathology
  • Multiple Organ Failure* / therapy
  • Trauma Severity Indices