Blossoming contusions: identifying factors contributing to the expansion of traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage


Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVETraumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a significant cause of neurological morbidity and mortality. Each year, more than 1.7 million patients present to the emergency department with TBI. The goal of this study was to evaluate the prognosis of traumatic cerebral intraparenchymal hemorrhage (tIPH), to develop subclassifications of these injuries that relate to prognosis, and to provide a more comprehensive assessment of hemorrhagic progression contusion (HPC) by analyzing the rate at which tIPH “blossom” (i.e., expansion), depending on a variety of intrinsic and modifiable factors.METHODSIn this retrospective study, 726 patients (age range 0–100 years) were admitted to a level 1 trauma center with tIPH during an 8-year period (2005–2013). Of these patients, 491 underwent both admission and follow-up head CT (HCT) within 72 hours. The change in tIPH volume over time, the expansion rate, was recorded for all 491 patients. Effects of prehospital and in-hospital variables were examined using ordinal response logistic regression analyses. These variables were further examined using multivariate linear regression analysis to accurately predict the extent to which a hemorrhage will progress.RESULTSOf the 491 (67.6%) patients who underwent both admission and follow-up HCT, 368 (74.9%) patients experienced HPC. These hemorrhages expanded on average by 61.6% (4.76 ml) with an average expansion rate of 0.71 ml per hour. On univariate analysis, certain patient characteristics were significantly (p < 0.05) related to HPC, including age (> 60 years), admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, blood alcohol level, international normalized ratio, absolute platelet count, transfusion of platelets, concomitant anticoagulation and antiplatelet medication, the initial tIPH volume on admission HCT, and ventriculostomy. Increased expansion rate was significantly associated with patient disposition to hospice or death (p < 0.001). To determine which factors most accurately predict overall patient disposition, an ordinal-response logistic regression identified systolic blood pressure, Injury Severity Score, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, follow-up scan volume, transfusion of platelets, and ventriculostomy as predictors of patient discharge disposition following tIPH. A multivariate logistic regression identified several prehospital and in-hospital variables (age, Injury Severity Score, blood alcohol level, initial scan volume, concomitant epidural hematoma, presence of subarachnoid hemorrhage, transfusion of platelets, and ventriculostomy) that predicted the volumetric expansion of tIPH. Among these variables, the admission tIPH volume by HCT proved to be the factor most predictive of HPC.CONCLUSIONSSeveral factors contribute to the rate at which traumatic cerebral contusions blossom in the acute posttraumatic period. Identifying the intrinsic and modifiable aspects of cerebral contusions can help predict the rate of expansion and highlight potential therapeutic interventions to improve TBI-associated morbidity and mortality.

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