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Guidelines on the early management of head injury. J Kerr A&E Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. Head Injury. 10% of A/E workload A/E Dept seeing 85,000 annual attendances 8,500 head injuries 1,700 admissions 35 head injuries requiring resuscitation 20 require neurosurgery

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guidelines on the early management of head injury

Guidelines on the early management of head injury

J Kerr

A&E

Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh

head injury
Head Injury
  • 10% of A/E workload
    • A/E Dept seeing 85,000 annual attendances
      • 8,500 head injuries
      • 1,700 admissions
      • 35 head injuries requiring resuscitation
      • 20 require neurosurgery
      • 220 patients require CT scan
      • 5100 patients can be discharged safely from A/E
  • Significant cost
  • Expeditious management reduces secondary brain injury
  • Associated injuries and secondary effects
  • High proportion of patients have a subsequent disability
guidelines
Guidelines
  • Guidelines for initial management after head injury in adults -Suggestions from a group of neurosurgeons March 1984
  • Commission on the Provision of Surgical Services. Report of the Working Party on Head Injuries. London: RCS; 1986
  • European Brain Injury Consortium. Guidelines for the management of severe head injury in adults 1997
  • British Neurological Surgeons 1998
  • Report of the Working Party on the Management of Patients with Head Injuries - Prof Galasko; Royal College of Surgeons of England June 1999
  • SIGN August 2000
  • Canadian CT Head Rules 2001
  • NICE June 2003
slide4
SIGN
  • Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network
  • Formed in 1993
  • Development of SIGN Guidelines - series of 70+ publications
  • No 46: ‘Early Management of Patients with a Head Injury’ - published August 2000
slide6
NICE
  • National Institute for Clinical Excellence
  • Established as a Special Health Authority in England and Wales, April 1st 1999
  • Technology appraisals and clinical guidelines
  • ‘Head Injury; Triage, assessment, investigation and early management of head injury in infants, children and adults’ published June 2003
slide7

Guidance represents the view of the Institute, which was arrived at after a careful consideration of the available evidence. Health professionals are expected to take it fully into account when exercising their clinical judgement, it does not however override their individual responsibility to make appropriate decisions in the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer.

slide9

HISTORY

Mechanism of Injury (MOI)

  • Fall
  • RTA
  • Assault
  • Blunt or penetrating trauma
  • Associated injuries
  • ALCOHOL
slide10

Symptoms

  • LOC
  • Amnesia
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Epistaxis
  • Visual disturbance
  • Headache
  • Dizziness/drowsiness
slide11

GLASGOW COMA SCALE

Eye opening 4 eyes open spontaneously

3 open to speech

2 open to pain

1 no opening

Motor response 6 obeys commands

5 localizes to pain

4 flexion

3 abnormal flexion

2 extension

1 no movement

Verbal response 5 orientated

4 confused

3 inappropriate words

2 incomprehensible sounds

1 no speech

indications for referral to hospital
Indications for referral to hospital
  • GCS < 15 at any time since the injury
  • Amnesia
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Clinical evidence of a skull fracture
  • Significant extracranial injuries
  • MOI not trivial
  • Continuing uncertainty about diagnosis
  • Medical co-morbidity
  • Adverse social factors
slide13

Base of skull fracture

  • Periorbital bruising
  • Subconjunctival haemorrhage
  • CSF rhino/otorrhoea
  • Epistaxis
  • Haemotympanum
  • Battle’s sign
skull x ray indications sign
Skull x-ray indications - SIGN
  • GCS < 15 or
  • GCS 15, but:
    • MOI not trivial
    • LOC
    • Amnesia or has vomited
    • Full thickness scalp laceration/boggy haematoma
    • Inadequate history
skull x ray indications nice
Skull x-ray indications - NICE
  • Skull x-rays have a role in the detection of non-accidental injury in children
  • Skull x-rays in conjunction with high-quality in-patient observation also have a role where CT scanning resources are unavailable
skull x ray
Skull X-ray

Advantages

Quick

No need for radiologist

Low dose of radiation

(0.14mSv)

Inexpensive

Disadvantages

Increased workload

Inconclusive

ct indications sign
CT Indications - SIGN
  • GCS 12/15 or less
  • Deteriorating GCS or progressive focal neurological signs
  • Confusion or drowsiness (GCS 13-14) followed by failure to improve within at most 4 hours of clinical observation
  • Radiological/clinical evidence of fracture
  • GCS 15, no fracture but:
    • Severe/persistent headache, N+V, irritability or altered behaviour, seizure
ct indications nice
CT Indications - NICE
  • GCS less than 13 at any point since the injury
  • GCS 13 or 14 at 2 hours after the injury
  • Suspected open or depressed skull fracture
  • Any sign of BOS fracture
  • Post-traumatic seizure
  • Focal neurological deficit
  • >1 episode of vomiting
  • Amnesia > 30 minutes before impact

In patients with some LOC or amnesia since the injury:

  • Age > 65
  • Coagulopathy
  • Dangerous MOI
ct scan
CT Scan

Advantages

High sensitivity/specificity

Detection of intracranial

haematoma

Definitive (except ultra

early)

Disadvantages

High dose of radiation

(2.0mSv)

Radiologist required

nice vs sign
NICE vs SIGN
  • NICE based on Canadian CT head rules
  • NICE lowers threshold for CT scanning
  • Difficulty in obtaining out-of-hours CT scans
  • Massive increase in workload of radiology departments
  • Increased patient exposure to radiation
  • Increase in cost
slide23

Management

  • ABC (including C spine control)
  • GCS
  • O2, analgesia, tetanus, ?antibiotics, IVI
  • ?bloods
  • Imaging
  • Neuro obs:
    • pupil size and reactivity
    • Repeated GCS score
    • General obs including p, BP, temp, BM, O2 sats, RR
    • Alcometer
admission or discharge
Admission or Discharge?
  • GCS < 15
  • GCS 15, but
      • Continuing amnesia
      • Continuing nausea/vomiting
      • Severe headache
      • Any seizure
      • Focal neurological signs
      • Skull fracture
      • Abnormal CT
  • Significant medical problems
  • Social problems/no supervision at home
discharge from a e
Discharge from A/E
  • None of the above exclusion criteria
  • Patient must be given head injury advice
  • Responsible adult to supervise the patient
  • Easy access to a telephone
  • Reasonable access to a hospital
  • Easy access to transport
transfer to neurosurgery
Transfer to Neurosurgery
  • Abnormal CT scan
  • CT is indicated but cannot be done within an appropriate period
  • Clinical features which warrant neurosurgical assessment, monitoring or management:
    • Persisting coma (GCS 8/15)
    • Persisting confusion
    • Deteriorating GCS
    • Progressive focal neurology
    • Seizure without full recovery
    • Depressed skull fracture
    • Penetrating injury
    • CSF leak/BOS fracture
neurosurgical assessment and monitoring
Neurosurgical assessment and monitoring
  • Experienced staff
  • Intensive, specific monitoring
    • intracranial pressure monitoring
    • dedicated neuro-intensive care
    • specialised theatre suites
  • Rapid access to theatre
head injury audit
Head Injury Audit
  • Scottish Trauma Audit Group (STAG)
  • 98% coverage throughout Scotland
  • All head injuries attending A/E Departments in 4 teaching hospitals
  • All head injuries admitted to Scottish hospitals

Pre-implementation November 1999

Post-implementation May 2001

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