Safety and Outcome of Intracranial Pressure Monitor Placement Performed by Trauma Critical Care Surgeons

Am Surg. 2022 Mar;88(3):376-379. doi: 10.1177/00031348211056278. Epub 2021 Dec 10.


Introduction: The Brain Trauma Foundation advises intracranial pressure monitor placement (ICPM) following traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score ≤8 and an abnormal head computed tomographic scan (CT) finding. Prior studies demonstrated that ICPMs could be placed by non-neurosurgeons. We hypothesized that ICPM placement by trauma critical care surgeons (TCCS) would increase appropriate utilization (AU), decrease time to placement (TTP), and have equivalent complications to those placed by neurosurgeons.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of adult trauma patients admitted with a TBI in a historical control group (HCG) and practice change group (PCG). Demographics, Injury Severity Score (ISS), outcomes, ICPM placement by provider type, and time to placement were identified. Complications and appropriate utilization were recorded.

Results: 70 patients in the HCG and 84 patients in the PCG met criteria for inclusion. Demographics, arrival GCS, ICU GCS, ISS, and admission APACHE II scores were not statistically significant. AU was 7/70 for HCG vs 19/84 in the PCG (P = .04036). Median TTP was 6.5 hours for HCG vs 5.25 for PCG (P = .9308). Interquartile range showed the data clustered around an earlier placement time, 2.3-14.0 hours, in the PCG. Complications between the 2 groups were not statistically significant, 0/7 for HCG vs 5/19 for PCG (P = .2782).

Discussion: This study confirms that ICPMs can be safely placed by TCCS. Our results demonstrate that placement of ICPMs by TCCS improves AU and possibly improves TTP.

Keywords: ICU; critical care; surgical quality; trauma; trauma acute care.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / complications
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Historically Controlled Study
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Intracranial Pressure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Prosthesis Implantation* / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Safety
  • Surgeons*
  • Time-to-Treatment
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Traumatology*
  • Treatment Outcome