Severe head injury is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. We conducted a retrospective study to assess the long-term outcome of these patients using the Glasgow Outcome Score (GOS) and evaluate the variables that might predict outcome. Data were collected from all post-traumatic neurosurgical patients with severe head injury (Glasgow Coma Scale 8 or less) admitted to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit over a 29-month period. The long-term outcome was assessed one year after the injury by a telephone interview or a review of the hospital records. Seventy patients satisfied the criteria for the study. The male to female ratio was 9:1. The mean age of the patients was 37 (range 17 to 84) years. The overall mortality was 50%. Patients with a poor outcome (defined as GOS scores of 1 to 3) had a significantly higher mean age, higher Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score and a lower Glasgow Coma Scale than those with a good outcome (GOS 4 to 5). The APACHE II score correlated better with outcome than the Glasgow Coma Scale or age. The APACHE II score may be used to prognosticate the long-term outcome in severe head injury.
Injuries form the fifth commonest cause of death locally. They accounted for 27 out of 100 000 deaths in 1993.
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