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Predicting survival using simple clinical variables: a case study in traumatic brain injury
  1. David F Signorinia,
  2. Peter J D Andrewsb,
  3. Patricia A Jonesa,
  4. Joanna M Wardlawa,
  5. J Douglas Millera
  1. aDepartment of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, UK, bDepartment of Anaesthetics, University of Edinburgh, UK
  1. Dr D F Signorini, University Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Bramwell-Dott Building, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES Prediction of patient outcome can be useful as an aid to clinical decision making, to explore possible biological mechanisms, and as part of the clinical audit process. Many studies have constructed predictive models for survival after traumatic brain injury, but these have often used expensive, time consuming, or highly specialised measurements. The aim of this study was to develop a simple easy to use model involving only variables which are rapidly and easily clinically achievable in routine practice.

METHODS All consecutive patients admitted to a regional trauma centre with moderate or severe head injury were enrolled in the study. Basic demographic, injury, and CT characteristics were recorded. Patient survival at 1 year was used to construct a simple predictive model which was then validated on a very similar patient group.

RESULTS 372 patients were included in the study, of whom 365 (98%) were followed up for survival at 1 year. Multiple logistic regression resulted in a model containing age (p<0.001), Glasgow coma scale score (p<0.001), injury severity score (p<0.001), pupil reactivity (p=0.004), and presence of haematoma on CT (p=0.004) as independently significant predictors of survival. The model was validated on an independent set of 520 patients, showing good discrimination and adequate calibration, but with a tendency to be pessimistic about very severely injured patients. It is presented as an easy to use nomogram.

CONCLUSIONS All five variables have previously been shown to be related to survival. All variables in the model are clinically simple and easy to measure rapidly in a centre with access to 24 hour CT, resulting in a model that is both well validated and clinically useful.

  • traumatic brain injury
  • prognosis
  • trauma
  • clinical audit
  • survival
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