A prospective observational study was undertaken in four hospitals. Adult hypocoagulated traumatic brain injury patients with a normal tomography scan were included. The main outcomes evaluated were rate of delayed intracranial hemorrhage, rate of admission in a neurosurgical department, rate of complications related with surveillance and rate of prolonged hospitalization due to complications. An analysis combining data from a previously published report was also done.
A total of 178 patients were included. Four patients (2.3%) had a delayed hemorrhage and three (1.7%) were hospitalized in a neurosurgery ward. No cases of symptomatic hemorrhage were identified. No surgery was needed, and all patients had their anticoagulation stopped. Complications during surveillance were reported in seven patients (3.9%), of which two required prolonged hospitalization.
The rate of complications related with surveillance was higher than the rate of delayed hemorrhages. The initial period of in-hospital surveillance did not convey any advantage since the management of patients was never dictated by neurological changes. Post-surveillance tomography played a role in deciding about anticoagulation suspension and prolongation of hospitalization.
Delayed hemorrhage is a rare event and the need for surgery even rarer. The need for in-hospital surveillance should be reassessed.