Send to

Choose Destination
Swiss Med Wkly. 2002 Mar 9;132(9-10):116-20.

Severe traumatic brain injury in children--are the results improving?

Author information

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, University Children's Hospital, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland.



Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains an important cause of mortality and morbidity in children. Medical management is constantly being refined, and thus results should improve. The aim of the present study was to analyse our data of recent years and to compare them with previous series (1978-83 and 1988-92).


The data of 51 children (1 month to 16 years old) with severe blunt TBI treated in our unit from 1994 to 1998 were analyzed retrospectively. Severe TBI was defined by immediate loss of consciousness and an admission Glasgow coma scale (GCS) <8. Outcome was classified by using the Glasgow outcome scale (GOS) 6 to 12 months after injury.


35 patients (69%) showed a good outcome (GOS 4 and 5), 14 died (GOS 1), one survived in a permanent vegetative state (GOS 2), and another was severely disabled (GOS 3) (GOS 1-3 = bad outcome, 31%). Bad outcome was associated with low GCS (i.e. 3 and 4), fixed and dilated pupils at admission, invisible basal cisterns on first computerized tomography, and presence of coagulopathy. Moderate to severe intracranial hypertension was also significantly related to bad outcome in the 26 patients with intracranial pressure monitoring. Compared to our first series severity of TBI was unchanged, and the incidence of multiple injury and consumption coagulopathy was less frequent. Intubation rate prior to admission to the centre increased from 35% to 94%. Intensive care measures (duration of mechanical ventilation, use of hypothermia, mannitol, thiopentone etc.) were less aggressive. The rate of good outcome remained unchanged (69% vs. 60%).


Despite changing management policies, results were comparable with those of our former series. This fact underlines the importance of primary injury and the secondary role of intensive care management on final outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center