Evaluating mild traumatic brain injury in adults: an emergency physician’s dilemma

Suvan K. Chowdhury, Subhankar Paul, Rajpratim Das, Ilias Ali


Background: Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a common presentation in emergency departments across the globe. A controversy about the policy of evaluating them with CT scan and hospital admission or discharge and for these patients. This study is directed towards correlation of clinical profile with CT brain findings of the patients to predict the possibility of an intracranial lesion and need for early neurosurgical intervention.

Methods: This prospective observational study was carried out in the Emergency Department (ED) of a tertiary care government medical college and hospital. All patients aged more than 12 years presenting to the ED with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) within 24 hours of injury in whom NCCT head (trauma protocol) was done during the Study. Descriptive and analytical statistics were applied. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors related to different outcomes.

Results: 178 patients with MTBI were enrolled in the study among which intracranial injuries were found by CT scan in 28 patients (15.7%). Odds of finding intracranial injuries were highest with the presence of post-traumatic vomiting, post traumatic amnesia (PTA), pre-existing alcohol use disorder, GCS≤14, focal neurological deficit and clinical signs of basal skull fracture. 2.8% patients required urgent neurosurgical intervention.

Conclusions: Presence of post-traumatic vomiting, PTA, alcohol use disorder, GCS≤14, focal neurodeficit and signs of basal skull fracture in a MTBI patient should be considered as high-risk factors for significant intracranial injuries.



: CT scan, Glasgow coma scale, Mild traumatic brain injury, MTBI, Minor head injury, Traumatic brain injury

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