Is repeated head computed tomography necessary for traumatic intracranial hemorrhage?

Schuster, Rob; Waxman, Kenneth
September 2005
American Surgeon;Sep2005, Vol. 71 Issue 9, p701
Academic Journal
journal article
This study was performed to determine the need for repeat head computed tomography (CT) in patients with blunt traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) who were initially treated nonoperatively and to determine which factors predicted observation failure or success. A total of 1,462 patients were admitted to our level II trauma center for treatment of head injury. Seventeen per cent (255/1,462) were diagnosed with ICH on initial head CT. Craniotomy was initially performed in 15.7 per cent (40/255) of patients with ICH. Two hundred sixteen patients with ICH were initially observed. Ninety-seven per cent (179/184) of observed patients with ICH and repeat head CT never underwent a craniotomy, 2.7 per cent (5/184) of patients with ICH initially observed underwent craniotomy after repeat head CT, and four patients (80%) had deteriorating neurologic status. Multivariate analysis revealed the following significant admission risk factors were associated with a need for repeat head CT indicating the need for craniotomy: treatment with anticoagulation and/or antiplatelet medications, elevated prothrombin time (PT), and age greater than 70 years. In patients with blunt traumatic intracranial hemorrhage initially observed, there is little utility of repeated head CT in the absence of deteriorating neurologic status. The only admission risk factors for a repeat CT indicating the need for craniotomy were advanced age and coagulopathy.


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