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Neurosurgery. 1983 May;12(5):487-91.

Head injury in the Pacific Northwest.

Abstract

This report describes 451 consecutive patients admitted to a regional trauma center with head injury over 1 year's time. Our results replicate findings from other hospital- and population-based studies of head trauma. Males exceeded females by 3 to 1; the most frequent age of patients was between 15 and 24 years; and motor vehicles were the most common cause of injuries. Mortality was related inversely to Glasgow coma scale (GCS) scores and directly to age. This study also points out two current problems in head trauma research. One is the difficulty in using the GCS in a community with highly sophisticated emergency medical services. In 38% of the patients, one or more GCS components could not be assessed directly. In 17% of cases, GCS scores could not be confidently assigned. This was principally because endotracheal tubes were in place before arrival at the hospital, precluding determination of the verbal response. A second problem is the influence of chronic pre-existing central nervous system conditions on head outcome. Twenty-nine per cent of our patients had one or more such conditions at the time of their injury. Minimal estimates of prevalence ranged from 1% (mental retardation) to 18% (alcoholism).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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