Consensus paper on the assessment of adult patients with traumatic brain injury with Glasgow Coma Scale 13-15 at the emergency department: A multidisciplinary overview

Eur J Emerg Med. 2024 Aug 1;31(4):240-249. doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000001140. Epub 2024 May 14.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common reason for presenting to emergency departments (EDs). The assessment of these patients is frequently hampered by various confounders, and diagnostics is still often based on nonspecific clinical signs. Throughout Europe, there is wide variation in clinical practices, including the follow-up of those discharged from the ED. The objective is to present a practical recommendation for the assessment of adult patients with an acute TBI, focusing on milder cases not requiring in-hospital care. The aim is to advise on and harmonize practices for European settings. A multiprofessional expert panel, giving consensus recommendations based on recent scientific literature and clinical practices, is employed. The focus is on patients with a preserved consciousness (Glasgow Coma Scale 13-15) not requiring in-hospital care after ED assessment. The main results of this paper contain practical, clinically usable recommendations for acute clinical assessment, decision-making on acute head computerized tomography (CT), use of biomarkers, discharge options, and needs for follow-up, as well as a discussion of the main features and risk factors for prolonged recovery. In conclusion, this consensus paper provides a practical stepwise approach for the clinical assessment of patients with an acute TBI at the ED. Recommendations are given for the performance of acute head CT, use of brain biomarkers and disposition after ED care including careful patient information and organization of follow-up for those discharged.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic* / therapy
  • Consensus*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Glasgow Coma Scale*
  • Humans
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed