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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Aug;146(2):290-4.

Pneumonia following closed head injury.

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Department of Medicine (Pulmonary and Critical Care), Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98104.


Pneumonia is common among patients with artificial airways in place. Most prior studies of such pneumonia involve a heterogeneous group of patients, usually with major medical or surgical illnesses. We studied the incidence of pneumonia in a group of patients with isolated closed head injury (CHI) in an effort to determine the pattern of the problem in the absence of other injuries and to determine whether the pattern of development of pneumonia in these patients was comparable to that in more heterogeneous groups of mechanically ventilated patients. We studied 109 initially comatose patients with isolated CHI who were ventilated 24 h or more. The mean age was 30.3 +/- 20.2 yr, 72% were male, and the admission Glasgow coma score was 4.9T +/- 1.4. Overall, 45 patients (41%) developed pneumonia, with the majority (29/45) occurring during the first 3 days of hospitalization. No patient developed pneumonia after the first week despite the fact that many were still ventilated, others remained intubated, and yet others were extubated but comatose. Patients who developed pneumonia experienced a longer ICU stay (10.5 +/- 5.4 days versus 7.2 +/- 4.3 days, p = 0.001) and hospital stay (34.8 +/- 27.6 versus 22.5 +/- 20.2 days, p = 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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