Effect of associated injuries and blood volume replacement on death, rehabilitation needs, and disability in blunt traumatic brain injury

J. H. Siegel, D. R. Gens, T. Mamantov, F. H. Geisler, S. Goodarzi, E. J. Mackenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the effects of associated injuries on death, disability, rehabilitation needs, and cost in patients with blunt traumatic brain injury. Design: A retrospective case series analysis of 1,709 patients with blunt traumatic brain injury, or 37.2% of 4,590 consecutive blunt trauma patients, was combined with a prospective study of a subset of 202 of the 1,709 brain-injured patients obtained during the same time period with regard to need for rehabilitation services, residual disability, and costs at 1 yr after discharge from the acute trauma center. Setting: A level I regional trauma center that is also the statewide neurotrauma and multiple trauma unit serving a population of more than 3 million persons. Results: Contingency table analysis showed the Glasgow Coma Scale to be highly predictive (p < .0001) of likelihood of mortality, need for postacute inpatient rehabilitation, or discharge home. Of the blunt traumatic brain injury patients, 40.4% (691) had an isolated brain injury and 59.6% (1,018) had brain plus at least one other systemic injury. The mortality rate of the isolated brain injury group was 11.1% compared with 21.8% in all brain plus systemic injury groups (p < .0001). Spine, lung, visceral, pelvis, or extremity injuries in blunt traumatic brain injury all increased mortality rate to >25% (all simultaneously significant, p < .0001). Analysis of the interaction of brain injury (quantified by Glasgow Coma Scale) with blood replacement in the initial 24 hrs showed that at any Glasgow Coma Scale range, percent mortality increased as the volume of blood increased. Hypovolemic shock increased the mortality rate from 12.8% to 62.1% (p < .0001). The need for postacute inpatient rehabilitation in survivors also increased as blood replacement increased, and shock increased the percent of patients requiring post-acute inpatient rehabilitation from 39.7% to 60.3%. In 202 consecutive surviving brain trauma patients followed for 1 yr, isolated brain-injured patients with moderate brain injuries had a 4% need for posttrauma, postacute inpatient rehabilitation with a total cost per case of $12,489 compared with the brain plus extremity injury group, who had a 23% postacute inpatient rehabilitation rate and a total cost per case of $36,177 at 1 yr. With severe brain injury, isolated brain injury increased postacute inpatient rehabilitation to 29% and 1-yr cost to $59,274, but with the brain plus extremity injury group, postacute inpatient rehabilitation increased to 49% and cost to $84,950. Conclusions: In blunt traumatic brain injury, the addition of major visceral or extremity injuries, with need for blood replacement or shock, increases the risk of death, the need for rehabilitation, and the costs of disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1252-1265
Number of pages14
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt injuries
  • Brain death
  • Brain injuries
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Disability
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Neurologic examination
  • Rehabilitation
  • Severity of illness index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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