Traumatic Brain Injury

Salt or sugar for your injured brain? A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of mannitol versus hypertonic sodium solutions to manage raised intracranial pressure in traumatic brain injury

Authors: Rickard AC, Smith JE, Newell P, Bailey A, Kehoe A, Mann C.

BACKGROUND: Rising intracranial pressure (ICP) is a poor prognostic indicator in traumatic brain injury (TBI). Both mannitol and hypertonic sodium solutions are used to treat raised ICP in patients with TBI.
OBJECTIVE: This meta-analysis compares the use of mannitol versus hypertonic sodium solutions for ICP control in patients with TBI.
DATA SOURCES AND STUDY ELIGIBILITY: Randomised clinical trials in adults with TBI and evidence of raised ICP, which compare the effect on ICP of hypertonic sodium solutions and mannitol.
METHODS: The primary outcome measure is the pooled mean reduction in ICP. Studies were combined using a Forest plot.
RESULTS: Six studies were included, comprising 171 patients (599 episodes of raised ICP). The weighted mean difference in ICP reduction, using hypertonic sodium solutions compared with mannitol, was 1.39 mm Hg (95% CI -0.74 to 3.53).
LIMITATIONS: Methodological differences between studies limit the conclusions of this meta-analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: The evidence shows that both agents effectively lower ICP. There is a trend favouring the use of hypertonic sodium solutions in patients with TBI.

Optic nerve sheath diameter on initial brain CT, raised intracranial pressure and mortality after severe TBI: an interesting link needing confirmation

Authors: Masquère P, Bonneville F, Geeraerts T.

Optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) enlargement on initial computed tomography (CT) scan has been found to be associated with increased mortality after severe traumatic brain injury. This could offer the possibility to detect patients with raised intracranial pressure requiring urgent therapeutic interventions and/or invasive intracranial monitoring to guide the treatment. The method to measure ONSD using CT scan, however, needs further confirmation. Moreover, the link between ONSD enlargement on initial CT scan and raised intracranial pressure also needs to be confirmed by further studies.

Intracranial Pressure Monitoring in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: Results from the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program

Authors: Alali AS, Fowler RA, Mainprize TG, Scales DC, Kiss A, de Mestral C, Ray JG, Nathens AB.

While existing guidelines support the utilization of intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), the evidence suggesting benefit is limited. To evaluate the impact on outcome, we determined the relationship between ICP monitoring and mortality in centers participating in the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP). Data on 10,628 adults with severe TBI were derived from 155 TQIP centers over 2009-2011. Random-intercept multilevel modeling was used to evaluate the association between ICP monitoring and mortality after adjusting for important confounders. We evaluated this relationship at the patient-level and at the institutional-level. Overall mortality (n=3,769) was 35%. Only 1,874 (17.6%) patients underwent ICP monitoring, with a mortality of 32%. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for mortality was 0.44 (95% CI: 0.31-0.63) comparing patients with ICP monitoring to those without. It is plausible that patients receiving ICP monitoring were selected because of an anticipated favorable outcome. To overcome this limitation, we stratified hospitals into quartiles based on ICP monitoring utilization. Hospitals with higher rates of ICP monitoring use were associated with lower mortality: the adjusted OR of death was 0.52 (95% CI: 0.35-0.78) in the quartile of hospitals with highest use compared to the lowest. ICP monitoring utilization rates explained only 9.9% of variation in mortality across centers. Results were comparable irrespective of the method of case-mix adjustment. In this observational study, ICP monitoring utilization was associated with lower mortality. However, variability in ICP monitoring rates contributed only modestly to variability in institutional mortality rates. Identifying other institutional practices that impact on mortality is an important area for future research.

Effective treatment of refractory intracranial hypertension after traumatic brain injury with repeated boluses of 14.6% hypertonic saline

Authors: Eskandari R, Filtz MR, Davis GE, Hoesch RE.

Object Normal intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) have been identified as favorable prognostic factors in the outcome of patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Osmotic diuretics and hypertonic saline (HTS) are commonly used to treat elevated ICP in patients with TBI; however, sustained effects of repeated high-concentration HTS boluses for severely refractory ICP elevation have not been studied. The authors' goal in this study was to determine whether repeated 14.6% HTS boluses were efficacious in treating severely refractory intracranial hypertension in patients with TBI. Methods In a prospective cohort study in a neurocritical care unit, adult TBI patients with sustained ICP > 30 mm Hg for more than 30 minutes after exhaustive medical and/or surgical therapy received repeated 15-minute boluses of 14.6% HTS over 12 hours through central venous access. Results Response to treatment was evaluated in 11 patients. Within 5 minutes of bolus administration, mean ICP decreased from 40 to 33 mm Hg (30% reduction, p < 0.05). Intracranial pressure-lowering effects were sustained for 12 hours (41% reduction, p < 0.05) with multiple boluses (mean number of boluses 7 ± 5.5). The mean CPP increased 22% and 32% from baseline at 15 and 30 minutes, respectively (p < 0.05). The mean serum sodium level (SNa) at baseline was 155 ± 7.1 mEq/L, and after multiple boluses of 14.6% HTS, SNa at 12 hours was 154 ± 7.1 mEq/L. The mean heart rate, systolic blood pressure, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine demonstrated no significant change throughout the study. Conclusions The subset of TBI patients with intracranial hypertension that is completely refractory to all other medical therapies can be treated effectively and safely with repeated boluses of 14.6% HTS rather than a one-time dose.

Use of the CRASH study prognosis calculator in patients with severe traumatic brain injury treated with an intracranial pressure-targeted therapy

Authors: Olivecrona M, Olivecrona Z.

Based on the Corticosteroid Randomisation after Significant Head Injury (CRASH) trial database, a prognosis calculator has been developed for the prediction of outcome in an individual patient with a head injury. In 47 patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) prospectively treated using an intracranial pressure (ICP) targeted therapy, the individual prognosis for mortality at 14 days and unfavourable outcome at 6months was calculated and compared with the actual outcome. An overestimation of the risk of mortality and unfavourable outcome was found. The mean risk for mortality and unfavourable outcome were estimated to be 44.6±32.5% (95% confidence interval , 35.1-54.2%) and 69.3±23.7% (95% CI, 62.3-76.2%). The actual outcome was 4.3% and 42.6% respectively. The absolute risk reduction (ARR) for mortality was 33.1% and for unfavourable outcome 29.8%. A logistic fit for outcome at 6months shows a statistically significant difference (p<0.01). A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis shows an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.691. The CRASH prognosis calculator overestimates the risk of mortality and unfavourable outcome in patients with sTBI treated with an ICP-targeted therapy based on the Lund concept. We do not advocate the use of the calculator for treatment decisions in individual patients. We further conclude that patients with blunt sTBI admitted within 8hours of trauma should be treated regardless of their clinical status as long as the initial cerebral perfusion pressure is >10mmHg.

Agreement between routine emergency department care and clinical decision support recommended care in patients evaluated for mild traumatic brain injury

Authors: Korley FK, Morton MJ, Hill PM, Mundangepfupfu T, Zhou T, Mohareb AM, Rothman RE.

OBJECTIVE: Emergency department (ED) computed tomography (CT) use has increased significantly during the past decade. It has been suggested that adherence to clinical decision support (CDS) may result in a safe decrease in CT ordering. In this study, the authors quantified the percentage agreement between routine and CDS-recommended care and the anticipated consequence of strict adherence to CDS on CT use in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).


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