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This article has been peer-reviewed. It is the author's final published version in Neurosurgery. Volume 86, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 107-111.

The published version is available at . Copyright © Chalouhi


BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) carries a devastatingly high rate of morbidity and mortality.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether patients undergoing craniotomy/craniectomy for severe TBI fare better at level I than level II trauma centers in a mature trauma system.

METHODS: The data were extracted from the Pennsylvania Trauma Outcome Study database. Inclusion criteria were patients > 18 yr with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score less than 9) undergoing craniotomy or craniectomy in the state of Pennsylvania from January 1, 2002 through September 30, 2017.

RESULTS: Of 3980 patients, 2568 (64.5%) were treated at level I trauma centers and 1412 (35.5%) at level II centers. Baseline characteristics were similar between the 2 groups except for significantly worse GCS scores at admission in level I centers (P = .002). The rate of in-hospital mortality was 37.6% in level I centers vs 40.4% in level II centers (P = .08). Mean Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores at discharge were significantly higher in level I (10.9 ± 5.5) than level II centers (9.8 ± 5.3; P < .005). In multivariate analysis, treatment at level II trauma centers was significantly associated with in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.37; P = .01) and worse FIM scores (odds ratio, 1.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.7; P = .001). Mean hospital and ICU length of stay were significantly longer in level I centers (P < .005).

CONCLUSION: This study showed superior functional outcomes and lower mortality rates in patients undergoing a neurosurgical procedure for severe TBI in level I trauma centers.

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