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Neurosurgery. 1992 Aug;31(2):254-64.

Predictors of survival and severity of disability after severe brain injury in children.

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Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle, Washington.


Seventy-five children, 16 years of age or younger, consecutively admitted to a level I trauma center over a 2-year period with severe nonpenetrating traumatic brain injuries were studied to assess factors predictive of survival and level of disability. The mortality rate was 33%; 31% had good recovery, 12% had moderate disability, 19% had severe disability, and 5% remained in a vegetative state. Factors were analyzed separately for potential effects on survival and, with fatalities excluded, for potential effects on the level of disability in survivors. Clinical status in the field and emergency room, although highly associated with survival, was less predictive of the level of disability in survivors. Glasgow Coma Scale scores 72 hours after injury, especially the motor component, were significantly better predictors of quality of survival. The severity of the brain injury and the presence and severity of extracranial injuries were strongly related both to survival and quality of survival. Chest injuries, in particular, were associated with increased mortality and morbidity, as was level of oxygenation; these factors were highly correlated. Factors most significantly predictive of survival were severity of total injuries as assessed with the Injury Severity Score and pupillary responses in the emergency room; factors most predictive of disability were Glasgow Coma Scale motor responses 72 hours after injury and level of oxygenation in the emergency room. These findings of differential predictive factors for outcomes of survival versus quality of survival have implications relevant both to clinical care and to research involving severely brain-injured children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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