Predictors of ICU admission and patient outcome for traumatic brain injury in a Tanzanian referral hospital: Implications for improving treatment guidelines.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a critical global health challenge, with disproportionate negative impact in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). People who suffer severe TBI in LMICs are twice as likely to die than those in high-income countries, and survivors experience substantially poorer outcomes. In the hospital, patients with severe TBI are typically seen in intensive care units (ICU) to receive advanced monitoring and lifesaving treatment. However, the quality and outcomes of ICU care in LMICs are often unclear. We analyzed secondary data from a cohort of 605 adult patients who presented to the Emergency Department (ED) of a Tanzanian hospital with a moderate or severe TBI. We examined patient characteristics and performed two binary logistic regression models to assess predictors of ICU admission and patient outcome. Patients were often young (median age = 32, SD = 15), overwhelmingly male (88.9%), and experienced long delays from time of injury to presentation in the ED (median=12 h, SD = 168). A majority of patients (87.8%) underwent surgery and 55.6% ultimately had a "good recovery" with minimal disability, while 34.0% died. Patients were more likely to be seen in the ICU if they had worse baseline symptoms and were over age 60. TBI surgery conveyed a 37% risk reduction for poor TBI outcome. However, ICU patients had a 3.91 times higher risk of poor TBI outcome as compared to those not seen in the ICU, despite controlling for baseline symptoms. The findings point to the need for targeted interventions among young men, improvements in pre-hospital transportation and care, and continued efforts to increase the quality of surgical and ICU care in this setting. It is unlikely that poorer outcome among ICU patients was indicative of poorer care in the ICU; this finding was more likely due to lack of data on several factors that inform care decisions (e.g., comorbid conditions or injuries). Nevertheless, future efforts should seek to increase the capacity of ICUs in low-resource settings to monitor and treat TBI according to international guidelines, and should improve predictive modeling to identify risk for poor outcome.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Knettel, BA; Knettel, CT; Sakita, F; Myers, JG; Edward, T; Minja, L; Mmbaga, BT; Vissoci, JRN; Staton, C

Published Date

  • June 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 53 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1954 - 1960

PubMed ID

  • 35365345

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9167761

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-0267

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.injury.2022.03.043


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands