Intracranial Pathology (CT+) in Emergency Department Patients With High GCS and High Standard Assessment of Concussion (SAC) Scores

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Abstract

Objective:

To demonstrate that a subpopulation of patients with mild/moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) had intracranial pathology despite having a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 15 and a Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC) score of 25 or higher.

Setting:

A network of 11 US emergency departments (ED) enrolling patients in a multisite study of TBI.

Participants:

Men and women between the ages of 18 and 85 years admitted to a participating ED having sustained a closed head injury within the prior 72 hours and a GCS score of 13 to 15 at the time of enrollment.

Design:

Prospective observational study.

Main Measures:

GCS, SAC, computed tomography (CT) positive or negative for intracranial pathology, Marshall scoring of CT scans.

Results:

Of 191 patients with intracranial pathology (CT+) and having a SAC score recorded, 24% (46/191) had a SAC score in the normal range (≥25) as well as a GCS score of 15. All causes of CT+ brain injury were present in both SAC groups.

Conclusion:

A normal GCS score and a SAC score do not exclude the possibility of significant intracranial injury.

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