The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score has not been validated in children younger than 5 years and the clinical circumstances at the time of assignment can limit its applicability. This study describes the distribution of GCS scores in the population, the relationship between injury characteristics with the GCS score, and the association between the tripartite stratification of the GCS on mortality in children with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The first 200 children from a multi-center comparative effectiveness study in severe TBI (inclusion criteria: age 0-18 years, GCS ≤8 at the time of intracranial pressure [ICP] monitoring) were analyzed. After tripartite stratification of GCS scores (Group A, GCS 3; Group B, GCS 4 - 5; and Group C, GCS 6 - 8), analyses of variance and chi-square testing were performed. Mean age was 7.61 years ±5.33 and mortality was 19.1%. There was no difference in etiology or type/mechanism of injury between groups. However, groups demonstrated differences in neuromuscular blockade, endotracheal intubation, pre-hospital events (cardiac arrest and apnea), coagulopathy, and pupil response. Mortality between groups was different (42.2% Group A, 22.6% Group B, and 3.8% Group C; p < 0.001), and adding pupil response improved mortality associations. In children younger than 5 years of age, a similar relationship between GCS and mortality was observed. Overall, GCS score at the time of ICP monitor placement is strongly associated with mortality across the pediatric age range. Development of models with GCS and other factors may allow identification of subtypes of children after severe TBI for future studies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology