Multiple intracranial lesions in head injury: Clinical considerations, prognostic factors, management, and results in 95 patients

Manuela Caroli, Marco Locatelli, Rolando Campanella, Sergio Balbi, Filippo Martinelli, Cesare Arienta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The goal of this study was to identify clinical and radiological predictors of prognosis in patients with multiple post-traumatic intracranial lesions. METHODS: We reviewed 95 patients (75 male and 20 female) between the ages of 18 and 70 (average 38) admitted between 1993 and 2000 with multiple post-traumatic intracranial lesions. Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring was carried out in 67 patients (70%); 77 received intensive care unit (ICU) treatment. Since in all cases it was possible to identify a clearly predominant lesion, 3 groups of patients emerged from the data: the first with extradural hematoma (EDH), the second with a combination of homolateral subdural (SDH) and intracerebral hematoma (ICH), and the third with pure focal intracerebral hematoma (ICH). RESULTS: Twenty-seven patients were treated conservatively, 2 of whom died (7.4%); both had bilateral ICH and compression of the basal cisterns. Sixty-eight patients underwent one or more surgeries; 8 died (11.7%). In the group with EDH-predominant lesions (27 cases) all patients were operated (16 for multiple lesions); no one died. In the group with SDH+ICH-predominant lesions, 26 of 32 patients were operated (10 had multiple procedures); 6 died (18.7%), 3 were vegetative. In the group with ICH-predominant lesion, 15 of 36 patients were operated (7 bilaterally); 4 died (11%). Decompressive craniectomy proved to be a useful means to control ICP. Bilateral lobectomy is not recommended because of poor results. Immediate postoperative computed tomography (CT) scan proved to be mandatory to detect additional surgically treatable lesions (16 cases). Statistical analysis was performed by means of x 2 analysis and multiple linear regression model. The multiple linear regression model was used to ascertain risk factors independently associated with the outcome. The type of lesion (presence of SDH+ICH predominant lesion), the worst recorded Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, the presence of prolonged increased ICP, and the absence of pupillary reflexes were all statistically significant predictors of a bad outcome (dead or vegetative state). CONCLUSIONS: Multiple lesions have the same prognosis as the corresponding single lesions; therefore, their management should be guided by the predominant pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • CT scan
  • ICP monitoring
  • ICU management
  • Post-traumatic multiple lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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