Selecting patients for early interdisciplinary rehabilitation during neurointensive care after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2023 Sep;67(8):1069-1078. doi: 10.1111/aas.14285. Epub 2023 May 31.


Background: Early interdisciplinary rehabilitation (EIR) in neurointensive care is a limited resource reserved for patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) believed to profit from treatment. We evaluated how key parameters related to injury severity and patient characteristics were predictive of receiving EIR, and whether these parameters changed over time.

Methods: Among 1003 adult patients with moderate to severe TBI admitted over 72 h to neurointensive care unit during four time periods between 2005 and 2020, EIR was given to 578 and standard care to 425 patients. Ten selection criteria thought to best represent injury severity and patient benefit were evaluated (Glasgow Coma Scale, Head Abbreviated Injury Scale, New-Injury-Severity-Scale, intracranial pressure monitoring, neurosurgery, age, employment, Charlson Comorbidity Index, severe psychiatric disease, and chronic substance abuse).

Results: In multivariate regression analysis, patients who were employed (adjOR 1.99 [95% CI 1.41, 2.80]), had no/mild comorbidity (adjOR 3.15 [95% CI 1.72, 5.79]), needed neurosurgery, had increasing injury severity and were admitted by increasing time period were more likely to receive EIR, whereas receiving EIR was less likely with increasing age (adjOR 0.97 [95% CI 0.96, 0.98]) and chronic substance abuse. Overall predictive ability of the model was 71%. Median age and comorbidity increased while employment decreased from 2005 to 2020, indicating patient selection became less restrictive with time.

Conclusion: Injury severity and need for neurosurgery remain important predictors for receiving EIR, but the importance of age, employment, and comorbidity have changed over time. Moderate prediction accuracy using current clinical criteria suggest unrecognized factors are important for patient selection.

Keywords: interdisciplinary rehabilitation; neurointensive care unit; selection criteria; traumatic brain injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries*
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / therapy
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Patient Selection