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Br J Neurosurg. 2006 Oct;20(5):301-5.

Is the recommended target of 4 hours from head injury to emergency craniotomy achievable?

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Department of Neurosurgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.


Guidelines recommend that head-injured patients who require life-saving decompressive surgery should undergo surgery within 4 h. To assess the compliance with this recommendation 100 consecutive head-injured patients admitted to a regional neurosurgical unit (RNU) were studied. Time points from head injury to craniotomy were documented and analysed. Twenty-four patients underwent emergency craniotomy, only one being operated on within 4 h. In this cohort of patients there was no relationship between timing of surgery and outcome. In order to investigate whether it is possible to reduce delays in transportation time, theoretical models were created to determine whether direct transfer to the RNU would be faster by land or air ambulance.

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