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J Neurotrauma. 2012 Jan 1;29(1):128-36. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.2044. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

Multicenter evaluation of the course of coagulopathy in patients with isolated traumatic brain injury: relation to CT characteristics and outcome.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Institute for Cardiovascular Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This prospective multicenter study investigated the association of the course of coagulation abnormalities with initial computed tomography (CT) characteristics and outcome in patients with isolated traumatic brain injury (TBI). Patient demographics, coagulation parameters, CT characteristics, and outcome data of moderate and severe TBI patients without major extracranial injuries were prospectively collected. Coagulopathy was defined as absent, early but temporary, delayed, or early and sustained. Delayed/sustained coagulopathy was associated with a higher incidence of disturbed pupillary responses (40% versus 27%; p<0.001) and higher Traumatic Coma Data Bank (TCDB) CT classification (5 (2-5) versus 2 (1-5); p=0.003) than in patients without or with early, but short-lasting coagulopathy. The initial CT of patients with delayed/sustained coagulopathy more frequently showed intracranial hemorrhage and signs of raised intracranial pressure (ICP) compared to patients with early coagulopathy only. This was paralleled by higher in-hospital mortality rates (51% versus 33%; p<0.05), and poorer 6-month functional outcome in patients with delayed/sustained coagulopathy. The relative risk for in-hospital mortality was particularly related to disturbed pupillary responses (OR 8.19; 95% CI 3.15,21.32; p<0.001), early, short-lasting coagulopathy (OR 6.70; 95% CI 1.74,25.78; p=0.006), or delayed/sustained coagulopathy (OR 5.25; 95% CI 2.06,13.40; p=0.001). Delayed/sustained coagulopathy is more frequently associated with CT abnormalities and unfavorable outcome at 6 months after TBI than early, short-lasting coagulopathy. Our finding that not only the mere presence but also the time course of coagulopathy holds predictive value for patient outcome underlines the importance of systematic hemostatic monitoring over time in TBI.

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