Paediatric traumatic brain injury: prognostic insights and outlooks

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in children. Prognostication of outcome following TBI is challenging in this population and likely requires complex, multimodal models to achieve clinically relevant accuracy. This review highlights injury characteristics, physiological indicators, biomarkers and neuromonitoring modalities predictive of outcome that may be integrated for future development of sensitive and specific prognostic models.

Recent findings

Paediatric TBI is responsible for physical, psychosocial and neurocognitive deficits that may significantly impact quality of life. Outcome prognostication can be difficult in the immature brain, but is aided by the identification of novel biomarkers (neuronal, astroglial, myelin, inflammatory, apoptotic and autophagic) and neuromonitoring techniques (electroencephalogram and MRI). Investigation in the future may focus on assessing the prognostic ability of combinations of biochemical, protein, neuroimaging and functional biomarkers and the use of mathematical models to develop multivariable predication tools to improve the prognostic ability following childhood TBI.

Summary

Prognostication of outcome following paediatric TBI is multidimensional, influenced by injury severity, age, physiological factors, biomarkers, electroencephalogram and neuroimaging. Further development, integration and validation of combinatorial prognostic algorithms are necessary to improve the accuracy and timeliness of prognosis in a meaningful fashion.

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