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Traumatic brain injury poses a serious public health challenge. Treatment paradigms have dramatically shifted with the introduction of the American Association of Neurologic Surgeons (AANS) Guidelines for the Management of Severe Head Injury. Implementation of the AANS guidelines positively affects patient outcomes and can be successfully introduced in a community hospital setting.Data were collected both retrospectively and prospectively from the records of all trauma patients between 1994 and 1999. A cohort of 93 patients was selected. Thirty-seven patients were treated before the implementation of the AANS guidelines, and these were statistically compared with 56 patients treated after the implementation of the guidelines.Implementation of the recommendations in the AANS guidelines in a standardized protocol resulted in a 9.13 times higher odds ratio of a good outcome relative to the odds of a poor outcome or death compared with a group managed before the practice change. A Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) admission score > 8 was associated with a 6.58 times higher odds ratio of a good outcome compared with a GCS admission score < or = 8. Odds ratio of a good outcome decreased by a factor of 0.92 for each year increase in age of patients starting at age 9. A dedicated neurotrauma team and comprehensive treatment algorithms are critical elements to this success. Hospital charges increased by more than $97,000 per patient, but are justifiable in the face of significantly improved outcomes.Implementation of a traumatic brain injury protocol in a community hospital setting is practical and efficacious. Appropriate invasive monitoring of systemic and cerebral parameters guides care decisions. The protocol results in an increase in resource usage, but it also results in statistically improved outcomes justifying the increase in expenditures.