Content » Vol 45, Issue 8

Original report

Severe traumatic brain injuries in Northern Sweden: A prospective 2-year study

Maud Stenberg, Lars-Owe Koskinen, Richard Levi, Britt-Marie Stålnacke
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Medicine, Bldg 9A, Umeå University Hospital, Umeå University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1200


To assess: (i) the clinical characteristics and injury descriptors of patients with severe traumatic brain injury in Northern Sweden admitted to the single Neurotrauma Center (NC) serving this region; (ii) the care pathway of patients from injury to 3 months after discharge from the NC; and (iii) the outcomes at 3 months post-injury.
Population-based prospective 2-year cohort study.
Patients age 17–65 years with acute severe traumatic brain injury, lowest non-sedated Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 3–8 within 24 h post-trauma.
Patients were treated according to an intracranial pressure-oriented protocol based on the Lund concept at the NC. They were assessed at 3 weeks after injury with Rancho Los Amigos Cognitive Scale Revised (RLAS-R), Levels of Cognitive functioning, and at 3 months with RLAS-R and Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE).
A total of 37 patients were included. Hospital deaths within 3 months post-injury occurred in 5 patients. After 3 months the RLAS-R scores were significantly improved (< 0.001). Eight patients had both “superior cognitive functioning” on the RLAS-R and “favourable outcome” on the GOSE. Thirty-four patients (92%) were directly admitted to the NC. By contrast, after discharge patients were transferred back to one of several county hospitals or to one of several local hospitals, and some had multiple transfers between different hospitals and departments.
Overall outcomes were surprisingly good in this group of severely injured patients. The routines for transferring patients with severe traumatic brain injury from a geographically large, sparsely populated region to a regional NC to receive well-monitored neurosurgical care seem to work very well. The post-acute clinical pathways are less clearly reflecting an optimized medical and rehabilitative strategy.

Lay Abstract


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