Civilian Craniocerebral Gunshot Wounds: An Update in Predicting Outcomes

Murano, Tiffany; Mohr, Alicia M.; Lavery, Robert F.; Lynch, Catherine; Homnick, Adena T.; Livingston, David H.
December 2005
American Surgeon;Dec2005, Vol. 71 Issue 12, p1009
Academic Journal
Given the high mortality in patients sustaining intracranial injury secondary to gunshot wounds (GSWs), predictors to identify patients at increased risk of death are needed to assist clinicians early in determining optimal treatment. There have been few recent studies involving penetrating craniocerebral injuries, and most studies have been restricted to small numbers of patients, which do not allow for adequate prediction of mortality. A retrospective chart review of 298 patients who sustained GSWs to the head between 1992 and 2003 was conducted at a level 1 trauma center. Demographics, bullet trajectory, admitting Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), head Abbreviated Injury Score (AIS), as well as admission blood pressure and respiratory rate were evaluated. Univariate testing followed by multivariate logistic regression was performed to identify independent predictors of death. In-hospital mortality for patients with intracranial injury secondary to GSW was 51 per cent. A GCS <5 on admission and a high Injury Severity Score (ISS >25) was associated with mortality as compared with survivors (P < 0.05). Of those patients presenting with a GCS of 3, there were seven survivors to discharge. Logistic regression identified the following variables as predictors of death: respiratory arrest on admission, hypotension on admission, transhemispheric and transventricular GSW. Identification of those patients at the highest risk of death secondary to a craniocerebral GSW allows clinicians to better predict outcome and prognosis. This is not only important in determining treatment algorithms for physicians but also for appropriate counseling of family members to educate them with regard to patients' outcomes.


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