A prospective study was done during a six-month period on 104 consecutive patients who were seen at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department of the UHWI and referred for CT scans of the head within 24 hours of sustaining head injuries. There were 74 (71.1%) males and 30 (28.8%) females. The mean age for females was 40.6 years and 32.4 years for males. Patients were clinically assessed for the presence or absence of vomiting, amnesia, loss of consciousness. bleeding of ear, nose and throat (ENT) and Glasgow Coma score (GCS).
Negative predictive values were calculated for each parameter individually as well as the combination of all five. The absence of vomiting, amnesia, “loss of consciousness” (LOC ) or ENT bleed had negative predictive values of 68%, 73%, 76% and 61.6% respectively. An assessment of Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 15 had a 77.5% negative predictive value. When the history was indeterminate, the negative predictive values were 19%, 25%, 60% and 18% respectively for vomiting, amnesia, LOC and ENT bleed. When all four clinical indicators were absent in the history and examination and the GCS score 15, the negative predictive value for intracranial injury was 89.4%. In summary, the clinical indicators reviewed, alone or in combination, cannot exclude the presence of intracranial injury.