The aim of this study was to assess the change in trends in the management of traumatic brain injury (TBI) at a level I trauma center and the utilization of resources as a result of this change in management.
The management of TBI has been evolving with trends toward management of minimally injured patients with intracranial hemorrhage exclusively by trauma surgeons.
A 5-year (2009–2014) prospective database on all patients with TBI (skull fracture/intracranial hemorrhage on head computed tomography) presenting to a level I trauma center was analyzed for patient demographics, injuries, admission physiology, computed tomographic scan results, and hospital outcomes. These records were matched to the institutional registry and hospital financial database.
A total of 2184 patients were included with median (interquartile range) Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 (12–15), and median (interquartile range) head-abbreviated injury scale score of 3 (2–4). The distribution of types and size of intracranial bleeds remained unchanged throughout the study period. The proportion of TBI managed exclusively by trauma surgeons increased significantly over the years from 6.8% to 40.1% (P < 0.001). Proportion of patients who received neurosurgical consultations (P < 0.001) and repeat head computed tomographic scans (P < 0.001), hospital length of stay (P = 0.028), and costs (P < 0.001) decreased significantly over time. The overall mortality rate (18.5%) and rate of intervention (14.1%) remained unchanged.
TBI patients can be selectively managed without initially involving neurosurgeons safely in a cost-effective manner, resulting in more effective use of precious resources.