The epidemiology, prognosis, and trends of severe traumatic brain injury with presenting Glasgow Coma Scale of 3

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To characterize trends and prognosis of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).


This 5-year multicenter retrospective study included patients with TBI and Glasgow Coma Scale of 3. We analyzed demographic and clinical characteristics and mortality using Pearson χ2 tests, Cochran-Armitage trend tests, and stepwise logistic regression. Analyses were stratified by vehicular and fall etiologies; other etiologies were excluded (24%).


Included were 481 patients. Fall-related injuries increased 58% (P = .001) but vehicular etiology did not change (P = .63). The characteristics of the populations changed over time; with falls, the population became older and increasingly presented with normal vital signs, whereas with vehicular etiology, the population became younger, with more alcohol-related injury (P < .05 for all). Mortality from falls increased substantially from 25% to 63% (P < .001), whereas death from vehicular injures remained statistically unchanged but with a downward trend (50%-38%, P = .28). Predictors of mortality included injury severity and age at least 65 years for both groups. Additional variables that were prognostic were abnormal vital signs and subdural hematoma for vehicular injuries, and sex for fall injuries.


The epidemiology of severe TBI is changing. These epidemiologic data may be used for management and resource decisions, monitoring, and directing injury prevention measures.

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