Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Trauma. 1998 Jul;45(1):101-4; discussion 104-5.

Effect of a clinical pathway for severe traumatic brain injury on resource utilization.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Trauma Institute, University of Louisville Hospital, Kentucky 40292, USA.



The usefulness of clinical pathways for the complex trauma patient is unclear. We analyzed the effect of a clinical pathway for severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) on resource utilization.


A clinical pathway for severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score < or = 8 at 24 hours) was developed by a multidisciplinary team and used for all patients with severe TBI. Data were gathered prospectively for 15 months and compared with data from historical controls from the previous year. Patients who survived < 48 hours were excluded.


The clinical pathway was used for 84 patients with severe TBI and compared with 49 historical controls. No differences in Injury Severity Scores (27 vs. 27) or GCS scores at 24 hours (6.2 vs. 6.5) existed between control or pathway patients. There was an overall increase in the mortality rate of pathway patients (from 12.2 to 21.4%), but this was entirely attributable to withdrawal of care that was initiated by family members in patients with an average age of 71 years, an average GCS score of 4.7, and an average Injury Severity Score of 29. Among survivors, pathway patients had a significant decrease in ventilator days (11.5 +/- 0.9 vs. 14.6 +/- 1.2; p < 0.05), intensive care unit days (16.7 +/- 1.0 vs. 21.2 +/- 1.4; p < 0.05), and hospital days (23.4 +/- 1.2 vs. 31.0 +/- 3.0; p < 0.05). There were no differences in the incidence of complications or functional outcomes.


The use of a clinical pathway for severe TBI resulted in a significant reduction in resource utilization. This study suggests that clinical pathways may be a useful component of patient care after blunt trauma.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk