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Surgical and Intensive Care needs of Head-injured Patients Transferred to the University Hospital of the West Indies



A cross-sectional, descriptive study utilizing data collected in the ‘Trauma Registry’ of the Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) was undertaken to document injury severity, surgical requirements and intensive care needs of head-injured patients transferred to the UHWI over a three-year period. Of 144 patients studied, the majority (71%) were young males. Overall, injury tended to be mild. Twenty-three patients (16.0%) had severe head injury and 27 patients (18.8%) were admitted to the intensive care unit. Concussion with (33%) or without (36%) skull fracture was the commonest neurological admission diagnosis. Associated non-neurological injuries in 33% were primarily fractures. Fifty-six patients (39%) re-quired surgical intervention. Craniotomies and open reduction and internal fixation of fractures were the commonest procedures. The majority of patients (79.2%) were discharged home; 56 (39%) made a good Glasgow outcome score recovery. Seventeen patients (11.8%) died in hospital. As most of the transferred patients with head injuries in this study had only mild injury, most commonly concussions, and their prognosis was good, we recommend that appropriate educational and training programmes and transfer policies be implemented to minimize inappropriate transfers.

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e-Published: 02 Jul, 2013

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