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Am J Emerg Med. 1993 Jul;11(4):321-6.

A prospective study to identify high-yield criteria associated with acute intracranial computed tomography findings in head-injured patients.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Beloit Memorial Hospital, WI 53511.


We conducted a multicenter, prospective study of head-injured patients to identify high-yield clinical criteria for acute intracranial injuries. Emergency patients with a history of blunt head trauma occurring within 2 weeks and who underwent nonenhanced cranial computed tomography (CT) were entered onto the study during a 12-month period. Of the 264 patients, 32 (12%) had abnormal CT findings. Nine high-yield variables were associated with abnormal CT findings: alcohol use before injury, antegrade amnesia, prolonged loss of consciousness, anisocoria and/or fixed and dilated pupils, abnormal Babinski reflex, focal motor paralysis, cranial nerve deficit, Glasgow coma scale score of less than 15, and clinical signs of basilar skull fracture. Patients 2 years old or younger or older than 60 years of age showed a significantly greater prevalence of abnormal CT findings than patients of other ages.

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