Background: The development or expansion of a cerebral hemorrhagic contusion after decompressive craniectomy (DC) for traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs commonly and it can result in an unfavorable outcome. However, risk factors predicting contusion expansion after DC are still uncertain. The aim of this study was to identify the factors associated with the growth or expansion of hemorrhagic contusion after DC in TBI. Then we evaluated the impact of contusion progression on outcome. Methods: We collected the data of patients treated with DC for TBI in our Center. Then we analyzed the risk factors associated with the growth or expansion of a hemorrhagic contusion after DC. Results: 182 patients (149 males and 41 females) were included in this study. Hemorrhagic contusions were detected on the initial CT scan or in the last CT scan before surgery in 103 out of 182 patients. New or blossoming hemorrhagic contusions were registered after DC in 47 patients out of 182 (25.82%). At multivariate analysis, only the presence of an acute subdural hematoma (p = 0.0076) and a total volume of contusions >20 cc before DC (p = < 0.0001) were significantly associated with blossoming contusions. The total volume of contusions before DC resulted to have higher accuracy and ability to predict postoperative blossoming of contusion with strong statistical significance rather than the presence of acute subdural hematoma (these risk factors presented respectively an area under the curve [AUC] of 0.896 vs. 0.595; P < 0.001). Patients with blossoming contusions presented an unfavorable outcome compared to patients without contusion progression (p < 0.0185). Conclusions: The presence of an acute subdural hematoma was associated with an increasing rate of new or expanded hemorrhagic contusions after DC. The total volume of hemorrhagic contusions > 20 cc before surgery was an independent and extremely accurate predictive radiological sign of contusion blossoming in decompressed patients for severe TBI. After DC, the patients who develop new or expanding contusions presented an increased risk for unfavorable outcome.
Lucia di Somma
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