From the WUSTL Newsroom…
When a child suffers a mild head injury, doctors have well-established protocols for determining whether that child should have a computed tomography (CT) scan to assess the damage. Most children with mild traumatic brain injury have normal CT scans — a scenario often referred to as a concussion.
If a CT scan is abnormal, however, a child’s condition is at higher risk of deteriorating, requiring monitoring in a hospital. But there is little consensus about how closely such children should be monitored. Some such children recover well, while others experience a neurological decline and need surgery to relieve brain swelling.
In new research, pediatric neurosurgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis developed a risk scoring system intended to help determine whether a child with mild traumatic brain injury and an abnormal CT scan can be monitored safely in a general hospital ward or requires the increased surveillance of an intensive care unit (ICU).
The study is published Feb. 13 in JAMA Pediatrics.
“We want to care for these children in the safest way possible and at the same time not place kids unnecessarily in ICUs if they don’t need that level of care,” said senior author David D. Limbrick, MD, PhD, a professor of neurological surgery and of pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery. “We have identified factors that indicate which of these patients are likely to experience neurological decline and require surgery and which are not. This information can help health-care providers decide where to place these children when they are admitted into the hospital.”
For the complete article, click here.