Despite clinical concerns associated with pediatric traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), they remain grossly underreported. This is the first retrospective study to characterize concomitant pediatric TBIs and craniomaxillofacial (CMF) trauma patients, including frequency, presentation, documentation, and outcomes.
An institutional review board–approved retrospective cohort study was performed to identify all pediatric patients presenting with CMF fractures at a high-volume, tertiary trauma center between the years 1990 and 2010. Patient charts were reviewed for demographic information, presentation, operative management, length of stay, mortality at 2 years, dentition, CMF fracture patterns, and concomitant TBIs. Data were analyzed using two-tailed t tests and chi-square analysis. A value of P≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Of the 2966 pediatric CMF trauma patients identified and included for analysis [mean age, 7 ± 4.7 years; predominantly White (59.8%), and predominantly male (64.0%)], 809 had concomitant TBI (frequency, 27.3%). Only 1.6% of the TBI cases were documented in charts. Mortality at 2 years, length of stay in the hospital, and time to follow-up increased significantly from mild to severe TBIs. Concomitant TBIs were more common with skull and upper third fractures than CMF trauma without TBIs (81.8% versus 61.1%; P < 0.05).
Concomitant TBIs were present in a significant number of pediatric CMF trauma cases but were not documented for most cases. CMF surgeons should survey all pediatric CMF trauma patients for TBI and manage with neurology and/or neurosurgery teams. Future prospective studies are necessary to characterize and generate practice-guiding recommendations.
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